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SACRAMENTO — Two decades after raping a 14-year-old girl as a teen himself, Joseph Brian Cox, now 35, was sentenced on Friday, April 28, to 20 years in state prison.
Cox pleaded guilty in March of forcibly raping the girl in 1997, when he too was 14 years old. The case had remained unsolved until investigators tested DNA on a cigarette butt left at the scene that led authorities to Cox.
Cox’s lawyer, Jess Bedore, said his client was deeply immersed in the drug world when he broke into a home wearing a mask in 1997 and held a mother and her two daughters ages 11 and 14 at gunpoint. He tied up the mother and the youngest child, and raped the older girl before ransacking the house and fleeing.
The victim, who was at the sentencing with her sister, said she was relieved that her wait for justice is now over.
“There is a lot of closure,” said the woman, now a teacher, who is not being named because she was a victim of a sexual assault. “No more wondering. No more what-ifs.”
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Marjorie Koller noted that in sentencing Cox to 20 years, he waived his right to appeal the case.
“The time the defendant received is light. He deserves much more. The victims deserve much more, but this phase will be over without years of appeals.”
Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Matt Chisholm said Cox could have received a life sentence had the case gone to trial and he was found guilty.