Rapist sentenced to 27 years after being captured by U.S. Marshals

New Mexico

A rapist who made a run for it after a judge let him out to visit his new granddaughter was sentenced Monday by that same judge who cut him a break.

Judge Cindy Mercer let him have it, putting him away for a long time for his latest sex crimes

The judge got a lot of heat for granting Benny Valenzuela a six-hour furlough to visit his newborn grandchild while he was awaiting sentencing for child molestation.

“Benny Valenzuela shall serve 27 years in the Department of Corrections. Upon completion of his sentence, he will be placed on parole for a minimum of five years, and up to the full period of his natural life,” said Judge Mercer.

Valenzuela was already a convicted killer and rapist when Valencia County District Court Judge Cindy Mercer let him out for that visit. Except, he never went to visit his grandchild. Instead, he went on the run for six days before he was captured last week. 

Monday in court, a prosecutor told the judge that Valenzula took advantage of the court’s mercy and even tried to make contact with one of his victims. 

Parents of the girls he molested and exposed himself to asked the judge to put Valenzuela away for good.

“There’s too many of these guys out there running around loose and nobody is doing nothing about it. We are letting them go to do what? To do more harm,” said one parent. 

“Throughout her whole life, she is suffering. She continues to suffer on a daily basis. [I] ask that you please put this man away for life and do not let him touch anybody else,” another parent said. 

Judge Mercer also ruled that Valenzuela would have to register as a sex offender for life. 

Valenzuela has a lengthy criminal record. In 1990, he was convicted of raping a woman and has a history of failing to register as a sex offender.

He pled guilty to murder in 1999.
 

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