Damon Lee Dunagan, 38, pled guilty in February to six counts, including two counts of sexual assault. No plea deal was offered in the case.
Public Defender Maizie Pusich said that Dunagan decided to confess because he knew what he did was wrong and he wanted to spare the victim the ordeal of a trial.
“I would like to say I’m sorry … I know it doesn’t mean much,” Dunagan said in district court on Wednesday.
Pusich asked Judge Patrick Flanagan to consider Dunagan’s troubled upbringing before handing down a sentence.
She said Dunagan was born the product of a rape, that he was harassed and bullied as a kid and abused by fellow inmates during his numerous stints in prison.
Flanagan, however, did not spare Dunagan his harsh words.
Though he tries to find the good in everyone, “in this case, that search was in vain,” Flanagan told Dunagan prior to sentencing.
“I don’t know if you had a host of angels standing next to you that you would be able to avoid this ultimate decision,” the judge added.
It is often true in cases similar to this that judges deliver concurrent sentences when a defendant is guilty of multiple charges, but Flanagan said he wanted to send a message to the community and to the parole board that Dunagan should die in prison.
With this intention, Flanagan declared Dunagan to be a habitual criminal, imposed a life sentence without parole and added consecutive sentences for other convictions totaling 100 years.
Prosecutor Dan Greco of the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office said he was thrilled with the sentencing.
“The judge gave me dramatically more than I had asked for,” he said. “(Flanagan) shows compassion to minor offenders; however, he has repeatedly hammered major offenders and thereby kept our community safe.”
On March 31, 2010, Sparks became the community needing protection.
According to police reports, Dunagan broke into a home at 2310 Wild Creek Drive in Sparks through an unlocked window a little after 6 a.m. He found 42-year-old resident in bed, demanded cash and jewelry and then sexually assaulted her at gunpoint.
Police described the attack as “brutal” and “emotionless.”
After the assault, he left with a white pillowcase full of the woman’s expensive belongings.
According to Sparks Police Sgt. Greta Woyciehowsky, Dunagan was apprehended after police got a tip from witnesses who said they saw a man wearing dark clothing getting into a dark blue four-door Dodge Dakota parked a short distance away from the victim’s home on the morning of the crime. These same witnesses told police that the vehicle had Oregon license plates. Dunagan is a longtime Oregon resident.
Two days after the attack, Sparks detectives found a car matching witness descriptions. It had been reported stolen out of Oregon. Detectives watched the vehicle for several hours before Dunagan drove it to an Arco Gas Station on Sun Valley Boulevard, where police took him into custody.
Inside the car, detectives found the woman’s pillowcase and several identifiable items taken from her home, as well as a handgun.
The woman was shown a picture of Dunagan and positively identified him as the man who entered her home. However, she said she had never seen the man before he raped and robbed her.