Irony oh sweet irony

A Seattle man who’d admitted to raping two women at Myrtle Edwards Park was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday.

Earlier this year, Angel Galvan-Hernandez pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree rape in the separate August 2007 attacks at the waterfront park.

In both attacks, Galvan-Hernandez, 26, was accused of beating and choking his victims as he forced himself on them.

Speaking in King County Superior Court, Galvan-Hernandez pleaded with Judge Julie Spector to have him executed rather than send him to prison.

In a turn characterized by Spector, without humor, as “ironic,” Galvan-Hernandez begged not to be sent to prison where he believes he will be raped.

“I prefer death a thousand times over being raped,” said Galvan-Hernandez.

A tiny man less than 5 feet in height, Galvan-Hernandez told the court he’d been sexually assaulted numerous times as a street youth in Mexico.

“I want to pay for the act of cowardice,” he added. “I admit it, but I just don’t want to be raped.”

According to police, Galvan-Hernandez first attacked a then-homeless woman in the park, beating her with chunks of concrete and biting her during the rape. He escaped only to attack another woman days later.

A passer-by broke up the second attack and held Galvan-Hernandez to the ground until police arrived. That passer-by, a former soldier in the Army who asked not to be named, sat in on Friday’s hearing to see Galvan-Hernandez sentenced.

Addressing the court, the victim in the first attack told Spector that the injuries she sustained during the attack linger, and that it’s changed her day-to-day interactions with friends.

Still, the woman spoke with sympathy for Galvan-Hernandez while asking that the maximum sentence be imposed.

“A life is precious because you only get one,” she said, speaking to Galvan-Hernandez. “I hope and pray every day that you get the help you need.”

While Galvan-Hernandez’s attorneys requested the minimum 10-year sentence, Spector agreed with Senior Deputy Prosecutor Julie Kays’ recommendation and sentenced Galvan-Hernandez to a 20-year term.

Under the conditions set, Galvan-Hernandez will complete his minimum sentence but remain incarcerated until a state board deems him ready for release.

Explaining her decision, Spector turned to a letter she’d received from his second victim.

In the note, the 41-year- old woman cautioned Spector and future authorities not to be put at ease by the “tiny, timid predator.” Throughout the 45-minute attack, she wrote, Galvan-Hernandez was calm and determined but panicked each time he heard someone walk by.