Man convicted of rape and attempted murder gets life in prison

Willie Griffin Jr

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — A man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a teenaged girl in 2012 was found guilty on all counts Monday in San Marcos and sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday.

Willie Griffin Jr. was found guilty on three counts of sexual assault in addition to aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and attempted murder.

After Griffin received his life sentence, the victim addressed him. There was hardly a dry eye in the courtroom.

“You’re a sick monster for what you did to me,” she said, crying, “I didn’t deserve that. I want you to look at me. I want you to look at me, and see that what you did hurt me. You put scars on my chest.”

Police say Griffin picked the 17-year-old girl up from an East Austin bus stop in March 2012 before driving her to a remote area in Hays County and raping her. The girl told investigators Griffin then strangled her, and when she regained consciousness, he stabbed her multiple times in the chest.

The girl survived and was able to flag down a car for help and ultimately helped police identify Griffin.

Police say DNA evidence in this case linked Griffin to another crime. He’s also charged in Travis County with murder in the 2011 death of 24-year-old Elizabeth Escobar. Her body had been set on fire, and was found in a field off Springdale Road.

“I hope you spend a long, long time in jail, and know that you’re not getting out,” said Alan Scarborough, “There’s no last thrill you’re going to have at the end. I hope some how maybe you get better. Maybe somehow you learn to feel, because if you felt the gravity of the horrors that you did to these young ladies, any sane person would kill ourselves. We couldn’t live with it.”

As Griffin starts the first day of his life behind bars, his victim who survived, searches for closure.

“I pray for you every night,” she said, “I pray for you that God heals your soul.”

Griffin’s trial in Travis County is expected to start in the fall. Legal analyst Mindy Montford said a lot can happen between trials.

“If somebody receives enough years in prison, or has a very big sentence handed down, the prosecution in the other county might decide, that’s enough,” Montford said.

She says there’s the possibility of a plea bargain.

“The benefit to the state and the victim’s family in a second case with pleading, versus a trial; number one, it’s certainty. You know he’s pleading guilty,” said Montford.

But prosecutors and law enforcement in Travis County have said they seem intent on letting a jury decide.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got somebody who’s deceased, and a family presumably wants justice for that,” said Montford.

A trial date in the Travis County case has not yet been set because of the ongoing case in Hays County. At the time of the charges in the Escobar case, investigators told KXAN they thought it was possible Griffin could be connected to other unsolved crimes.

Any sentence he receives in Travis County will likely run consecutively to that term.

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