'He is a sociopath': State seeking 23 consecutive life sentences for rapist

2014-07-24T09:51:00Z 2014-07-28T12:21:04Z 'He is a sociopath': State seeking 23 consecutive life sentences for rapistBy EDDIE GREGG egregg@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Prosecutors are asking that convicted serial rapist Toby Eugene Griego — a "sociopath" and "sadistic stalker" — be given 23 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, plus 40 years and six months, for raping three women and attempting to rape a fourth.

"If given the opportunity, the defendant will offend again. If he is ever out of custody, he will find more victims. The defendant must never come out of prison," Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Rod Souza wrote in an 18-page sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday, ahead of Griego's sentencing Friday by District Judge Russell C. Fagg.

Souza asks that Griego — whom he describes as a "sociopath" and "sadistic stalker and rapist" — be ordered to serve his sentences in the maximum security unit at Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge.

Griego, 42, is considering making a statement Friday, Regional Deputy Public Defender David Duke said Thursday.

Griego declined to testify at his trial in April, when a jury convicted him of all 27 counts against him — including 10 counts of rape. Between the end of January and beginning of July last year, Griego broke into the homes of four women, repeatedly raping three of them and attempting to rape the fourth. 

Duke said Thursday morning that he and Assistant Public Defender Tom Bartleson were meeting with Griego and his family and planning for the hearing, which is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Additional security is planned for the hearing.

It was unclear Thursday if anyone will be testifying on Griego's behalf. A member of Griego's family has previously not responded to a request for comment.

By Montana law, Griego must be sentenced to life in prison without parole because he was convicted of rape and robbery in New Mexico, where he attacked and stalked numerous women, Souza states in his sentencing memorandum.

Even if that were not the case, Souza says, Griego would still face mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole because of the number and types of crimes he committed in Billings.

Several people are expected to testify for the state at the hearing, including Dr. Robert Page. The doctor designated Griego a Level 3 sexually violent offender — meaning he is at the highest risk level of reoffending — and determined Griego has antisocial personality disorder, court records say.

Also expected to testify Friday are Billings Police Detective Ken Paharik, a lead investigator in the case, and 33-year-old Kelley Hollingsworth, a woman raped at age 16 by Griego in Santa Fe, N.M. She has agreed to be identified by name.

Another victim from New Mexico, a woman whom Griego robbed, is also listed as a witness for the state. Souza said Thursday he anticipates one victim from the Billings attacks will make a statement.

The state’s sentencing memorandum also includes a timeline of Griego’s known attacks in Santa Fe, N.M, which date back to 1997.

“A review of the defendant’s arrests and convictions in New Mexico demonstrate he has always stalked, attacked, terrorized and raped women,” the document states.

The offenses mentioned include:

• Aug. 2, 1997: Griego attacked and robbed a woman in her home early in the morning.

• Oct. 25, 1997: Griego bound and raped Kelley Hollingsworth after pulling her from a car at knifepoint.

• Nov. 12, 1997: Griego broke into a woman’s vehicle and stole items. The victim told police she thought the incident was part of ongoing stalking.

• Dec. 11, 1997: Griego attacked a woman in a parking lot, covering her mouth with an ether-like substance. The woman was able to escape, but Griego stole her purse.

• Feb. 21, 1998: Griego attacked a woman in her home, knocking her to the floor and hitting her. He fled when the woman’s husband came to her rescue.

The crimes in 1997 went unsolved until the attack in February 1998, which led to investigators finding items belonging to those four victims in Griego’s car, records say. In total, detectives found property belonging to 12 people, most of them women.

The found items also identified Griego as a suspect in another burglary with a female victim on Oct. 7, 1997.

Griego took a plea deal and was convicted of the 1998 attack and three of the 1997 attacks. A judge gave him a sentence of 15 years prison with three years suspended, court records say. In 2002, he was convicted of raping Hollingsworth in 1997. For that offense, he was given a nine-year sentence — which ran parallel rather than consecutive to his existing sentence.

Once paroled, Griego "continued his predatory and deviant behavior," records say.

On May 15, 2007, Griego was caught in a Santa Fe mall, where he had been seen photographing up women’s skirts. When Griego ran away, he dumped his camera. He was charged with tampering with evidence, but the charge was later dismissed and Griego’s parole was revoked.

He finished his sentence in prison, and then moved to Billings in 2008. In 2010, he was charged with photographing a woman as she changed in a store at Rimrock Mall. The charge was later dropped.

In January 2013, Griego started breaking into homes and raping women. 

His sexual assaults in Billings show his "growth as a sadistic stalker and rapist," Souza states in the sentencing memorandum.

He goes onto explain how Griego entered each of the homes of the four victims without being detected and "wore gloves to eliminate fingerprints or possible DNA transfer."

Griego also stole any items used in the attacks that could connect him to the crimes.

Investigators found little or no physical evidence linking Griego to the attacks — with one critical exception: Images on his phone showing some of grotesque attacks as they were happening.

In one deleted video that a Billings detective was able to recover from the rapist’s cellphone, Griego turned the phone’s camera from a victim to his face during one of the home invasions.

"The crimes committed display a distinct and disturbing level of depravity that terrorized our community for months," Souza states. "The victims were tortured and forced to engage in humiliating acts no human should suffer."

Souza concludes that Griego history shows he is a sociopath, and that public safety demands Griego never be allowed out of prison.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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