MARTINEZ -- A West Contra Costa gang member was sentenced to 411 years and four months Friday for his part in a notoriously vicious gang rape of a Richmond woman 12 days before Christmas 2008.
Humberto Hernandez Salvador was convicted in December of 14 felony counts ranging from carjacking, kidnapping and a wide range of sexual assaults, plus enhancements. It took Judge Susanne Fenstermacher several minutes to read the sentence, during which Salvador, 36, bounced his left foot rapidly, jingling the chain attached to the shackle on his ankle.
"You are not an animal," Fenstermacher told Salvador after reading the sentence. "I've seen your humanity. But on that night, you acted like a wild animal. What you did has a ripple effect that is heartbreaking for everybody."
Salvador was one of four gang members looting cars on Richmond's Visalia Avenue when they happened upon Jane Doe, a lesbian, who was arriving home from work around 9:30 p.m. One of the men hit the woman in the head with a flashlight, prosecutors said, then the sexual assault began on the sidewalk. Eventually, the men put the woman in her car and drove her to a dead end near railroad tracks where the attacks continued.
Salvador, prosecutors said, made derogatory remarks about the woman's sexual orientation during the assault. When it was over, Jane Doe was left naked and dazed.
Community members held a candlelight vigil and started a trust fund for the victim, who testified against Salvador at his trial. The case made national headlines for its depravity and homophobic overtones.
Defense attorney Linda Fullerton called the sentence extreme.
"It says that we're demonizing him more than we need to," she said. "I think that as a society, we're better than that. He is much more than that one night."
Deputy District Attorney Melissa Smith pointed out that before the night of the attack, Salvador had been a gang member who mentored younger gang members. She said the 411-year sentence "is our way of indicating the evilness these crimes represent."
Jane Doe chose not to attend Friday's hearing -- several of Salvador's family members and friends were in attendance -- but Smith read a victim impact letter from Jane Doe's partner.
"Jane Doe is not the same person," the letter read in part. "She's always afraid, especially at nighttime. Some nights she doesn't sleep. She's lost the will to live. We live in the dark because the curtains are always drawn."
Salvador said nothing except when Fenstermacher asked whether he had any questions.
"No," he answered softly.
Shortly after court was adjourned, a woman's sobbing echoed in the cavernous hallways on the second floor of the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.