California

Man sentenced in brutal Tower District rape of woman

The man arrested in the brutal Tower District assault and rape of a woman in September was sentenced Friday to 36 years in prison.

Micah Collins, 24, pleaded no contest to three counts of rape and two counts of assault with the intent to commit rape.

During the assault in an alley near the 300 block of Shields Avenue, Collins punched the 52-year-old woman repeatedly in the face. The attack was captured on a nearby video camera.

After the assault, Collins left the woman in the alley and covered her in cardboard as she slipped in and out of consciousness. A passersby noticed her and called police.

The victim was hospitalized for multiple facial fractures and other injuries.

During Friday’s sentencing hearing, the victim’s sister read a statement on her behalf, calling Collins a brutal person and a monster who has no heart. “Whatever sentence you impose on him, we’ll be OK, as long as we know he will serve his time so he can think about what he’s done,” the sister told Judge James Kelley.

The victim spent about three weeks in the hospital after the attack. . The victim doesn’t remember much from the attack, and when she first awoke she thought someone covered her with cardboard to keep her warm, her sister said.

The sister said the victim, who suffers from mental illness, was like a second mother to her — a person with a “beautiful spirit.”

The victim told her sister to relay a message to Collins and the judge: “Don’t be so hard on him. I’ve forgiven him and I’m not going to let him win.”

Collins listened to the victim’s sister standing up with his eyes downcast.

His defense attorney, Mark Siegel, said Collins made some awful choices the day of the attack. “He became a monster, but that monster is gone,” Siegel said, calling Collins “shell shocked” during the hearing.

Judge Kelley sentenced Collins to the maximum penalty allowed by law. Kelley during sentencing noted Collins’ long criminal history and called the attack “vicious.”

At the time of Collins’ arrest, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer described the victim as a highly-educated woman with multiple college degrees who fell down on her luck four years ago and became homeless.

Police used surveillance footage in the area near Palm and Shields avenues to identify Collins and arrest him within hours of the attack.

Collins will be eligible for parole after serving about 28 years of his sentence.

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