EVERETT — An attempted rape on a beach near Edmonds in June was “every woman’s nightmare,” a judge said Tuesday.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Bowden sentenced the attacker, Charles Fisher, to at least 19 years in prison. Fisher was convicted last month of attempted first-degree murder and attempted second-degree rape. He won’t go free in his lifetime unless he persuades the state parole board he’s no longer dangerous.
Fisher, 60, maintains his innocence and plans to appeal the conviction.
His defense attorney, Paul Thompson, had sought a sentence of 10 years, far below state sentencing guidelines. Thompson argued that a lesser charge of assault would have been more appropriate.
“This conviction is simply out of character,” he said.
Deputy prosecutor Matt Baldock told the judge the case was unlike the majority of sex offenses, which involve people who know each other.
Usually, Baldock tells others that fears of “the unknown, the things lurking in the shadows” spring from misconceptions about crime.
“This is an exception to that norm,” he said.
The victim and her family and friends have lost their sense of security, Baldock said. People who frequent the local beaches also are affected, knowing what happened. The June 26 attack occurred on the waterfront of Woodway, just south of the Edmonds dog park, which is a popular destination for families.
When it was his turn to speak, Fisher described his history of playing and coaching sports. Sports taught him respect, he said. He never would cheat on his wife of more than 30 years, he said.
The victim’s injuries “weren’t done by my hand,” he said.
Bowden wasn’t moved by the plea for leniency.
The judge told Fisher that he had received a fair trial. The defendant’s family and friends have lashed out at the victim and criticized her character, the judge said. At the same time, Fisher has provided no explanation for what he did.
When police combed the woods for a suspect, “it’s inexplicable, if you weren’t responsible, why you would run away,” Bowden said.
Fisher will be required to register as a sex offender. The judge also denied his request to forego a psychological exam that would determine his risk of committing another sexual offense. The defense argued it wasn’t relevant, because his client wasn’t sexually deviant.
“Rape is sexually deviant,” Bowden said.