ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — An Ethiopian refugee convicted of sexually assaulting a blind 84-year-old Minnesota man has been sentenced to nearly 29 years in prison.
Ahmed Sule was sentenced Friday to 28 years, 10 months. A St. Paul Pioneer Press report (http://bit.ly/tJ364a ) says he’ll be deported when he’s released.
Authorities say Sule broke into the Fridley home of the elderly cancer patient. Prosecutors say the 24-year-old Sule repeatedly told him he loved him and wanted to kiss him, before sexually assaulting him.
Prosecutors say the elderly man tried to fight him off but was weakened from chemotherapy.
Defense attorney Jill Brisbois says her client maintained it wasn’t him, and that at some point God would reveal the true guilty person. She says she hoped the judge would take Sule’s troubled childhood into account.
Anoka County Judge Tammi Fredrickson handed down the decision after the victim’s daughter told the courtroom how Sule’s actions last September had affected her father and their family.
“It was very emotional,” said Jill Brisbois, Sule’s attorney.
Prosecutor Wade Kish could not be reached for comment.
The victim, who was 84 at the time of the attack, was suffering from cancer when Sule broke into his home. Sule, 24, repeatedly told the man he loved him and wanted to kiss him before sexually assaulting him. The elderly man tried to fight off Sule but was weak from radiation and chemotherapy.
The man has since died. (The Pioneer Press typically does not name victims of sexual abuse.)
Those factors led to an aggravated sentence for Sule. State guidelines typically allot 12 to 19 years in prison for similar crimes, which is what the defense had requested, Brisbois said.
“This is a very long sentence,” she said.
Brisbois had been hoping the judge would take into account Sule’s background. The refugee from Ethiopia grew up in a constant state of conflict in his native country, Brisbois said.
Sule also spoke at the hearing.
“He maintained it was not him, and that at some point, God will show everybody who it was,” Brisbois said, adding that she has all along questioned Sule’s competency.
Sule was sentenced Friday to 346 months in prison on one count of first-degree criminal sexual assault and 57 months for first-degree burglary, to be served concurrently. He will be deported after his prison term.