OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An unrepentant ex-convict was sentenced Thursday to 25 years to life in state prison for kidnapping and raping a woman who suffers from a cognitive disability in Oakland earlier this year.
Before he was sentenced, Hassan Lee Bratcher, 39, complained that, “There are so many lies in this case it’s ridiculous” and accused the victim of committing perjury when she testified against him.
But Alameda County Superior Court Judge Rhonda Burgess said Bratcher, who has previous convictions for false imprisonment and illegal gun and drug offenses, has a history of “violent and predatory conduct over many years and has displayed a complete disregard for the rule of law.”
Burgess said in one sense he chose the victim at random but in another sense he chose her specifically “because of her vulnerability,” since the 33-year-old woman suffers from a developmental disability and was 8 months pregnant so her ability to flee him was severely hampered.
Prosecutors said Bratcher was driving a van around Oakland at about 8 a.m. on March 5, which was a Sunday, when he came across the woman as she was walking to church.
Bratcher called out to the woman from his car and they had a short conversation during which he was kind to her and pretended to know her in order to lure her into his van, prosecutors said.
The woman was tired and was having difficulty walking so Bratcher told her he would give her a ride the rest of the way to her church, according to prosecutors.
However, once they arrived at the church Bratcher became hostile, wouldn’t allow the woman to get out of his van and drove her away from the church, prosecutors said.
Bratcher then took the woman to different locations in Oakland over the next four hours and raped her multiple times inside his van, according to prosecutors.
Bratcher finally allowed the woman to leave his van and then fled, prosecutors said.
The woman then walked to a nearby pharmacy, where she called her sister for help and her sister contacted police, according to prosecutors.
Paramedics transported the woman to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where she underwent a medical exam to preserve evidence of her trauma, prosecutors said.
Later DNA testing of the exam’s results helped authorities identify Bratcher as the man who sexually assaulted the woman. In addition, the woman was able to identify Bratcher in a photo lineup as the man who kidnapped and raped her, prosecutors said.
At the end of a lengthy trial, Bratcher was convicted in September of kidnapping and forcible rape as well as two kidnapping enhancement clauses.
The victim attended Bratcher’s sentencing Thursday but chose not to speak.
Bratcher claimed, “I never did anything to her” and alleged that court officials “allowed her to make up a lot of different stories.”
Burgess said the victim has flashbacks when she sees white vans similar to the one Bratcher drove the day he sexually assaulted her and she doesn’t go to church much anymore.
“Church was her main recreational activity but she rarely goes now,” the judge said.