Elderly woman dies after her rapist sentenced to prison
An elderly rape victim died just hours after her attacker was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
“The brutality he inflicted on her, it wasn’t human,” Jaling Bonnem, the victim’s daughter, said of her mother’s attacker.
Bryan Arellano Monasterio, 29, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of an elder and aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday.
Bonnem was able to tell her mother. A few hours later, she died.
“Knowing she was in declining health and knowing she didn’t have much time left, this was a gift to my mom so she could say goodbye,” Bonnem said.
Monasterio put on a cap and sunglasses to sneak into the victim’s apartment building in October 2018. He was charged in July 2019 and prosecutors knew they didn’t have much time.
The victim survived her injuries, but was dying from chronic liver disease.
“From the very start of this, when prosecutors began working with Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigators, we all knew this was a very different type of case,” said Mary McFaden, chief of the Elderly Abuse Section of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
They sought to convict Monasterio prior to the victim’s death.
“He was full of remorse,” said James Pons, Monasterio’s defense attorney. “He accepted responsibility as soon as the system would allow it. No one, including Mr. Monasterio, wanted to put her through further trauma.”
Bonnem believes her mother was finally unburdened.
“When this happened, it broke her spirit. It broke her mind. It broke her soul,” Bonnem said. “It took everything out of her. That was the main point was to make sure that before she left, that he gets punished.”
Bonnem says she is grateful to the HCSO investigators and prosecutors who worked her mother’s case and encourages all victims to report crimes.
“It restored my faith in the justice system.”