Despite his requests for a new attorney and new trial, an Acampo man was sentenced Tuesday to 80 years to life in prison for the torture and imprisonment of his girlfriend.
Charles Robert Peck Jr., 51, received a particularly long sentence because he had two prior strike convictions for kidnapping and robbery in Kansas. He was released on parole and allowed to move to California because he had relatives in the Lodi area, according to parole agencies in both states.
Peck was working as a truck driver until last summer, when his girlfriend was found July 1 on Peltier Road, nearly naked and trying to flag down motorists for help. One man did stop and call 9-1-1, and the woman spent several days at Lodi Memorial Hospital with extensive bruising to her face, legs, buttocks and hand.
She testified in court twice — at a preliminary hearing and at last fall's jury trial — about the abuse she suffered over the course of three days.
The woman testified that Peck arrived home the night of June 27 and leapt on her in bed, then began beating her. She described being chained around the neck to a bed and having duct tape covering most of her face, and repeated blows that made her lose consciousness and suffer a stroke.
The jury convicted Peck of all charges Nov. 5. Sentencing had been scheduled for Dec. 12, but it was postponed multiple times while Peck and his attorney filed motions for a new trial.
One juror apparently became upset when she learned, after the conviction, that the jury then had to decide whether the Kansas crimes were strikes, meaning that she would be responsible for deciding whether a man went to prison for life. That juror was ultimately relieved from duty and replaced with an alternate, one of the reasons Peck argued for a new trial, saying he believed she regretted convicting him.
In a lengthy speech to Judge K. Peter Saiers on Tuesday, Peck asked for more time to address some "post-trial remedies," arguing that his attorney had not provided proper counsel.
"Had I not even been represented by counsel, I couldn't have come out of this case any worse," he said, speaking candidly and occasionally reading from multiple pieces of yellow legal paper.
Saiers had already rejected motions for a new trial, ruling that there was not sufficient evidence of juror misconduct or that Deputy Public Defender Michael Ballard hadn't provided proper counsel.
The judge told Peck the matter could be taken up on appeal to the Third District Court of Appeal; Peck said that process would take 16 months to two years to happen, and noted that he is getting older.
"I think your response is typical of the kind of justice I've been dealt," he told the judge.
Saiers replied: "I've decided the issues and I'm not going to re-argue it."
Peck then retorted: "Obviously."
He then removed his reading glasses, folded them and tucked them in the neck of his orange jail clothing.
Saiers proceeded to sentence Peck to three terms of 25 years to life — increased from seven years to life because it was a third-strike case — for kidnapping, false imprisonment and dissuading a witness, plus five years for domestic violence.
Peck did not mention the victim in court.
She had no intention of attending the sentencing because she didn't want to see Peck again, said Deputy District Attorney Jeff Derman. The victim, a self-admitted drug user, had said four months ago that she truly wanted to turn her life around.
The last Derman had heard, she was doing well, he said after the sentencing.