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'Disgraceful and contemptible' act lands man 12 years in prison

A Red Deer County man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for kidnapping a young woman at knife-point from a Gasoline Alley parking lot, robbery and rape in December 2014.
Justin Mueller

A Red Deer County man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for kidnapping a young woman at knife-point from a Gasoline Alley parking lot, robbery and rape in December 2014.

Justin Chase Mueller, 30, received concurrent sentences of 12 years for kidnapping, 10 years for rape with a weapon and five years for robbery in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Thursday.

The court heard that on Dec. 3, 2014, the woman had just finished her shift at a hotel and was warming up her car shortly after midnight when Mueller threatened her with a knife. He forced her into the vehicle and he drove her to a bank where she was forced to withdraw cash from an automated teller, and stole money from her purse.

He drove her to farmer’s field where she was sexually assaulted twice. Then he drove her to his hotel room in Gasoline Alley where he made her get into the shower and violated her again to wash off evidence of the assaults.

He dropped her off in front of a convenience store and stole her car.

The 21-year-old victim, whose identity is protected under the Criminal Code of Canada, told the court the crimes ripped apart her life.

“I have been hurt in a way that I couldn’t prepare for. The echo of that terror and uncertainty stays with me,” said the victim who fought back tears while reading two victim impact statements she prepared for court.

She said the attack left her angry, sad, confused and questioning herself. For several months she was housebound, suffering nightmares, flashbacks, exhaustion and headaches.

She has required anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication and has been undergoing tests because of the sexual assaults.

She returned to the workforce this past spring, but still feels unsafe and can’t work alone. She constantly evaluates her safety in any new situation, always locking doors and windows.

“All this emotional and psychological vigilance is exhausting. I am a 21-year-old woman who needs someone to walk me to my car.

“I want to return to my life. I want my power back,” the young woman said.

Crown prosecutor Ann MacDonald said Mueller’s criminal record as an adult lists 25 convictions. Most recently in 2011, he was convicted of two counts of robbery and was sentenced to three years on each count. He was released on parole in May 2013.

She said Mueller was in need of money and went out that night to commit crime. He put the victim through a three-hour ordeal. The knife was always present and the victim didn’t know if she was going to survive.

A court-ordered report said Mueller was a very high risk to reoffend, and a high risk to commit sex crimes. Mueller blamed the victim for the sexual assaults saying she brought it up so he acted on it.

“The only person responsible for his actions is Mr. Mueller,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald recommended a 12-year prison sentence. Defence lawyer Norm Clair recommended 10 years and reminded the court that his client pleaded guilty so a trial was not necessary and taken responsibility for his crimes.

Clair said Mueller was intoxicated on alcohol and an unknown drug at the time and the victim was not physically harmed, but rather psychologically harmed. Mueller’s previous convictions do not include sexual assault.

Justice Kirk Sisson called Mueller’s conduct “disgraceful and contemptible.”

“Your actions are appalling. What you did makes life more difficult for everyone,” Sisson said.

He said he had no doubt the victim still carries the burden of what Mueller did to her that night.

During an apology to the victim, Mueller told the court he disagreed that he was at high risk to commit more sexual offences, but knew he must never use intoxicants again.

Mueller was given 984 days credit for his time spent at the Remand Centre since his arrest on Dec. 6, 2014.

He was placed on the Sex Offender Information Registry for 20 years, ordered to provide a DNA sample and received a lifetime firearm prohibition.

Mueller must also pay $14,460 in restitution to the victim. The crimes occurred in her car and because of those memories she had to sell her car at a loss costing her $13,800. He also robbed her of $660.