LYNNWOOD, Wash. – A Washington state man will spend less than three years in prison after drugging and raping an 18-year-old girl as she died of an overdose, a sentence the victim's mother called "a joke."
Brian Varela, 20, was sentenced Thursday for giving Alyssa Noceda drugs, raping her then trying to hide her body after she died.
Alyssa’s mother, Gina Pierson, told KCPQ she feels anything but a sense of justice after the man responsible for her daughter’s death will spend less time in prison than a car thief.
“She was a very outgoing person, bubbly, smart, beautiful,” according to Pierson, who said she'll never forget the happiness in her daughter’s eyes. “Just an overall great human being.”
Noceda died last February of a drug overdose at a party. On Thursday, Varela, the man prosecutors said was responsible for her death, was sentenced for his crimes.
“I’m heartbroken,” Pierson said. “She deserves justice, and she’s not receiving it.”
Police said it happened inside a mobile home near Martha Lake. Court documents said Noceda used marijuana and snorted prescription drugs Varela shared with her – but she soon lost consciousness, and her lips turned blue.
Court documents said Varela sent pictures and text messages to his friends saying she had passed out, and he had had sex with her but he never called first responders for help.
“She died from an acute combined overdose of fentanyl and a generic for Xanax,” Pierson said.
One of Varela’s friends eventually called police and, when they searched his home days later, they found Noceda’s body stuffed into a crate.
Varela was sentenced to less than three years in prison for second-degree manslaughter, third-degree rape and unlawful disposal of remains.
“He chose not to do anything. He knew what was going on, he made that obvious in the text message and the photos he sent to his friends,” Pierson said. “He knew every single thing that was going on with her, and he chose to do nothing. There were no mistakes in there.”
Varela could have called for help and avoided drug possession charges thanks to the state’s Good Samaritan law. Instead, court records said he raped his victim, tried to conceal his DNA evidence on her body and planned to bury her in a hole near Marysville.
Noceda’s mother said she hopes lawmakers pay attention to the case – and change state law to make sure other offenders face harsher punishments for similar crimes.
“I’m just appalled. It’s a joke, a slap on the wrist for taking someone’s life and violating another human being,” she said.