The 20-year-old Washington state killer who drugged, raped and murdered a high school student, sending nude photos of her to the teen's friends during the attack, got less than three years in jail for the heinous crime, sparking outcry from the victim's family.
"You might as well let him walk free with that kind of time," said Rachelle Palmer, the aunt of 18-year-old victim Alyssa Noceda, after a judge issued the wrist-slap sentence on Thursday.
Brian Varela fed Noceda a fatal cocktail of painkillers and raped her as she lay dying from the overdose at a party in the Seattle suburb of Lynnwood in February.
Instead of calling for help, he posted, "LOL, I think she od'd, still breathing," and took pictures of Noceda, texting them to her friends.
Judge Linda Krese said she was "surprised, even outraged," that laws prevented her from giving Varela no more than two years and 10 months in jail for the killing. "I'm not sure the legislature really contemplated something like this."
She was handcuffed because Varela is a first-time offender and pleaded guilty to the reduced charges of second-degree manslaughter, third-degree rape, and unlawful disposal of remains as part of a deal.
In court Thursday, Varela said only, "I'm sorry for my foolish actions. Whatever I get is what I deserve. "