Nov. 17—Juan Carlos Medina, a Marysville man who pleaded no contest to arson and forcible rape last month, was sentenced this week to 16 years in a state prison.
On Oct. 4, the 70-year-old Medina entered the plea one month after dousing a 59-year-old woman in hand sanitizer and setting her on fire on Sept. 7.
According to officials, Medina reportedly burned the victim after a verbal altercation and prevented her from seeking help for hours before calling for medical aid.
The Yuba County District Attorney’s Office previously said Marysville Police Department officers found the victim lying in a bathtub with water running over burns that covered 10% of her body. Medina told investigators that the victim caught herself on fire when she attempted to light a cigarette after using hand sanitizer to clean her hands.
“Officers immediately recognized that the injuries did not match his story,” the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office said on Friday.
The victim was in so much pain from the burns that she couldn’t speak, but she slowly shook her head up and down when asked if Medina had caused her burns, the DA’s office previously said.
“Marysville Police Detective Daniel Fiut led the investigation,” the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office said. “He determined that during a verbal argument, Medina had squirted hand sanitizer onto the victim and then lit her shirt on fire using a butane torch lighter. Medina helped put the flames out, but then refused for several hours to call for medical aid.”
According to the DA’s office, the victim suffered second and third degree burns on more than 10% of her body and was transported from Adventist Health/Rideout Hospital in Marysville to the University of California, Davis Medical Center where she underwent multiple skin graft surgeries “over a period of days.”
Yuba County District Attorney Chief Investigator Brandt Lowe noted in initial reports that the Marysville Police Department had received several 911 calls from the same area in the days leading up to the arson, the Appeal previously reported. The calls were an “open line,” meaning that the call connected, and the dispatcher could hear people speaking, but no one spoke to dispatch.
During these calls, the dispatcher reportedly heard a woman talking about being raped and saying that someone was trying to scare her with a torch. However, the geolocation of the phone was not good enough to identify more than just the neighborhood, so Marysville Police Department officers were unable to find the sources of those calls at the time they were made.
After conducting a follow up investigation with the victim, Lowe determined that the open line 911 calls came from the victim, and that she had been held for days and raped by Medina, the Appeal previously reported.
“I am really thankful for the quick resolution of this case, allowing the victim to focus on healing rather than testifying,” Yuba County District Attorney Clint Curry said in a statement in October. “Medina will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, which is exactly what should happen given what he did to the victim. Thank you Detective Daniel Fiut and Chief Lowe for your exemplary work on this case.”