Victim faces her abductor – At sentencing, she says meth is ‘out of control’
As Jacob Hill looked away Friday, the woman he abducted and raped in June 2003 described the long-term damage she had suffered. But she also shared her hopes that his imprisonment will raise awareness of how methamphetamine can fuel such nightmarish crimes.
Charged with kidnapping the woman from a bank parking lot and raping her before she was able to escape on foot, Hill was sentenced in Nevada County Superior Court Friday to 34 years to life in prison.
Hill apologized in court to his victim and his family for his actions, after the victim spoke about her arduous road to recovery following the June 3, 2003, attack.
“I have worked very diligently to heal from this,” said the woman, a mother of two. “It’s taken me over a year just to feel safe in my own home again.”
Hill abducted the woman from near a Sutton Way bank’s ATM machine. He struck her in the back of the head with a rock as she got into her van, beginning a nine-hour ordeal in which she was bound, thrown into the back of the van and sexually assaulted.
The victim later fled from Hill and pounded on the door of a Banner Lava Cap home, where a resident called 911.
Hill was captured two days after the attack when his sister-in-law tipped Grass Valley police that Hill was at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital dropping off his wife for a pregnancy exam.
The victim said she has suffered from post-traumatic stress in the 15 months since the attack, which has left her vulnerable and, at times, strapped for cash because of lost wages.
“It took me many months to go out in public and be in a place where I couldn’t control the people behind me,” she said. There were days, the woman said, where she couldn’t get out of bed because she was overwhelmed with grief, sadness and helplessness.
As she spoke, the courtroom audience sat rapt. Several members of the audience dabbed their eyes with tissues provided along each aisle in Judge Albert P. Dover’s courtroom. The woman spoke in measured, nuanced tones, her eyes fixed on her letter to the court. Hill, shackled in handcuffs next to his lawyer, W. Gregory Klein, didn’t look up during her presentation.
The woman said she wished redemption for Hill and admonished his doctor for prescribing Adderall, a stimulant used to treat depression. She said the doctor knew Hill was already taking methamphetamine at the time, creating a risky mix of drugs. Traces of both were found in his system following the attack.
However, the victim said Hill should have been aware of his actions.
“On some level, he knew what he was taking was wrong,” she said.
The victim, who has lived in Nevada County for 14 years, said she wished for an extensive drug rehabilitation program for Hill – one that could conceivably last for two or more years, or the length of time that methamphetamine affects the brain’s “pleasure center” or reward system in the brain once the addict has stopped using it, the victim said.
“It scares me to think that meth has become so out of control in this community,” she said, referencing the January death of Drew Reynolds, a UPS driver who was killed when meth user Scott Krause allegedly stole a delivery truck and rammed it into Reynolds’ van on Brunswick Road.
“A 30-day, 60-day, 90-day treatment isn’t enough for a meth addict,” she said.
Dover praised the victim for her statement and implored members of the courtroom to lobby legislators for more money for drug rehabilitation programs, which he said are limited by the amount of dollars given to local jurisdictions by the state.
“I can only hope that the statements that you make will help mobilize people with the power of the purse … to make that happen,” he said.
Hill will be eligible for parole in 30 years. In addition to his sentence, he must pay more than $17,000 in restitution to the victim for lost wages.
The victim spared Hill vitriolic criticism Friday, instead asking him to learn from his mistakes.
“My hope is that Mr. Hill is given the opportunity to rehabilitate himself.
“I cannot lose sight of the fact that he’s a part of the community. … I do not wish to see him punished.”
The victim said she hoped he could use his prison time to help teach others about the dangers of abusing methamphetamine and other drugs.
In sentencing Hill, Dover wasn’t as kind.
“You, I think, clearly are the consequence of an addict who fails to control his actions.
“The conduct can be forgiven by (the victim), but it cannot be forgotten,” the judge said.
Klein, who has represented many clients suspected of crimes due to their drug use, said Hill “is exceedingly embarrassed and exceedingly remorseful” about his actions.
Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Kull said the victim’s speech wasn’t meant to be punitive, but to help Hill recover from his destructive addiction.
“This is a long prison sentence, but it is her hope that he can rejoin society.”
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