One of the perpetrators, Josue Ramirez-Aguilar, now 20, pleaded guilty to the attack last week, along with Ana Lopez-Huinil, 17, and Angela Garcia, 19, who served as a driver and a lookout, respectively. The second perpetrator, Francisco Joshua Palencia, was found guilty Thursday.
Palencia was convicted of kidnapping, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, rape, aggravated sodomy, criminal attempt to commit burglary, burglary and cruelty to children in the first degree after a nine-day trial. Jose Carranza-Castro, 38, pleaded guilty last week to ordering the attack on the woman.
Carranza-Castro first tasked Ramirez-Aguilar with the attack in April 2017, asking him to “permanently disfigure the victim with acid or boiling water” and assault her, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office. Carranza-Castro offered an unspecified sum of money, and Ramirez-Aguilar agreed to do it. Ramirez-Aguilar recruited Palencia to help, and both got their girlfriends, Lopez-Huinil and Garcia, to assist, the release says.
In the three weeks leading up to the assault, Carranza-Castro, Ramirez-Aguilar and Palencia spoke on the phone and planned what they might do to the victim, including “cutting her face, beating her and disfiguring her with boiling water,” the district attorney’s office said.
On May 8, 2017, the victim and her boyfriend heard knocking on her door around 1 a.m. She saw two or three masked suspects on her doorstep and they demanded she go outside, the district attorney’s office said. When she refused, the suspects broke a window. She called the police and the suspects left.
Four days later, the victim arrived at her apartment around 3 a.m. with her two sons, a toddler and an infant. Her boyfriend was not home. When she walked into the home, she saw two masked men in her kitchen, and two pots of water were boiling on the stove. She tried to get away from them and protect her children, but one of the intruders threw the boiling water on her, causing second-degree burns on her neck, shoulder, back and side, the district attorney's office said.
The pair shocked the victim with stun guns and forced her into her bedroom, where they made her perform oral sex and raped her, according to police. The victim’s 3-year-old son sat on the bed crying during the attack, the district attorney’s office said. The infant was restrained in a portable car seat in another room. At some point, one of the suspects signaled that they had to leave, and they did. Once they were gone, the victim realized a TV, jewelry, shoes, a purse and a stun gun that she owned were missing. The suspects had accessed her apartment by cutting a screened-in porch, letting her 2-month-old German shepherd puppy escape. The puppy was never found, according to the district attorney’s office.
Gwinnett County crime scene investigators were able to recover Ramirez-Aguilar’s fingerprints from the pots used to scald the victim, the district attorney’s office said. Ramirez was arrested and confessed, identifying Palencia, Lopez-Huinil, Garcia and Carranza-Castro as co-conspirators. Both Ramirez-Aguilar and Palencia later admitted to beating, shocking and scalding the victim, but blamed each other for the sexual assault, the district attorney’s office said. Neither denied a sexual assault occurred.
Palencia was sentenced to life plus 111 years in prison. Ramirez-Aguilar was sentenced to life, with the first 25 years to serve in prison. Carranza-Castro was sentenced to life in prison. Garcia was sentenced to 30 years, with the first 15 years to serve in prison, and Lopez-Huinil was sentenced to 30 years, with the first 10 years to serve in prison.