Man sentenced to 22 years in Alameda arson and rape

A transient man was sentenced to 21 years and 8 months in prison for sexually assaulting a woman and setting multiple homes and businesses on fire in Alameda in September 2014.

Last October, Andrew Gutierrez, 24, was convicted of raping an unconscious woman for sexually assaulting a woman in her car on Park Street, near Jackson Park, on the night of Sept. 19, 2014.

Before his trial began, Gutierrez pleaded guilty to six counts of arson for setting multiple fires early on the morning of Sept. 28, 2014, that caused $3 million in damage to Alameda homes and businesses. 

Gutierrez found the victim passed out in her vehicle, according to Alameda County prosecutor, Matt Gaidos.

Gutierrez directed the victim to drive him to a location where he suddenly got out of the car and fled, according to Gaidos.

After the crime was reported, the woman’s car was examined for fingerprints, which matched prints on file for Gutierrez.

"I have been broken in more ways than I could have ever imagined," Gaidos read the victim’s letter aloud in court, "I have lost my identity. I went from being happy, social, charismatic and independent to isolating myself, putting security cameras at home, having anxiety attacks, suicidal thoughts, breakdowns at work, crying myself to sleep, keeping the lights on at night and praying that the next day will get better."

Addressing Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes, who sentenced Gutierrez, the victim's letter continued, "Your honor, I am extremely proud of myself for fighting for justice because, as you know, the vast majority of sexual offenders will walk free. That is why I am respectfully asking you to please consider a maximum punishment not only for my safety but for the safety of other women."

The victim, who didn't attend today's hearing, said, "I am walking away a stronger woman" and the sentencing of Gutierrez represents, "the day I reclaimed my life and happiness."

Edward Bell, Gutierrez's attorney, said he believes that Gutierrez's conduct is attributable to the mental illness he suffered after he was abused by his father in his native Puerto Rico when he was only 4 years old.

Bell said he believes Gutierrez should be treated for his mental illness instead of being sentenced to a lengthy prison term.

Gutierrez will have to register as both an arson offender and a sexual offender after he's released from prison.