A Sioux Falls man is going to prison for raping his nine-year-old stepdaughter earlier this year.
With an interpreter by his side, 31-year-old Ruben Garcia pleaded guilty to first degree rape. The plea agreement means Garcia avoids a jury trial, but he won't avoid a lengthy prison term.
The maximum sentence for rape in the 1st degree in South Dakota is life in prison. In exchange for a shorter sentence, Garcia pleaded guilty to raping the girl last February and now awaits sentencing.
"There's a mandatory minimum of 15 years and under the plea agreement he's facing up to 40 years actually," Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said.
Sioux Falls police say Garcia raped the child while a seven-year-old watched it happen. The children later told their mother who contacted authorities. But when authorities arrived, Garcia was gone.
"We got a warrant out fairly quick, the defendant was apprehended in Omaha after leaving Minnehaha County shortly after the event," McGowan said.
And that is where Garcia admitted to authorities that he raped his stepdaughter and tried to hide the evidence.
"I think the plea today was the result of some very strong police work and investigative work on behalf of our crimes against persons detective unit," McGowan said.
Garcia must undergo a mandatory psycho-sexual evaluation, which the court will use in determining a prison sentence. Garcia's sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 19.