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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow LA GRANDE MAN GETS 52 YEARS FOR RAPE, KIDNAPPING

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LA GRANDE MAN GETS 52 YEARS FOR RAPE, KIDNAPPING

CLACKAMAS — The powerful words of victims and their families appeared to seal the fate of Chester Gunter, 43, Tuesday.

It will be at least 45 years, and possibly 52 years, before the La Grande man, found guilty July 12 of kidnapping a Starbucks' coffee shop employee in Clackamas and raping her eight months ago, is set free.

With a 52-year sentence, Gunter could be imprisoned until he is in his mid-90s. Parole could cut the sentence by seven years.

With television cameras rolling in the courtroom, the two Starbucks' employees who were in the store that December morning, along with one woman's fiancee and her father, were given a chance to read victim impact statements.

Urging Judge Eve Miller to sentence Gunter to prison for a lengthy term — also the request of the Clackamas County District Attorney's office — one of the victims made a point of explaining that what Gunter had done hadn't happened all at once, but had occurred one event at a time.

She appeared to make her point, as Gunter received consecutive sentences, rather than concurrent.

The state's case charged Gunter with first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, first-degree kidnapping and two counts of second-degree robbery.

It took a 12-person jury less than two hours in July to convict him on all charges.

According to television network reports from the sentencing hearing Tuesday, Gunter's mother was transported away from the courthouse in an ambulance, suffering chest pains.

As television cameras focused on Gunter during the sentencing, he appeared to seldom change his expression, only occasionally closing his eyes or turning his face away from the witness stand.

Gunter was arrested in La Grande in January after tips led Clackamas detectives to him.

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