A woman beaten and raped in broad daylight in the parking lot of a Brentwood supermarket 11 years ago confronted her attacker in court on Tuesday as he was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
“I acknowledge, Gilbert Trejo, that you did these horrible things to me,” Jane Piper told 58-year-old Gilbert Lozano Trejo. “You intentionally made a conscious choice to do them. But I forgive you.”
Piper then told Trejo that she wondered about his thoughts in the years since the attack, which he claims he cannot remember.
“Did you just run off from my car, covered in my blood, wash yourself off and then, that was it? Never thought of me again until we sat in the courtroom a couple of years ago, when I testified at (the) preliminary hearing? … How much of what you did to me did you carry with you through the years? Did you think that it would effect me as it did, because it does.”
The identities of rape victims are usually not released, but Piper made her own name public, she said, in the hope of helping other rape victims deal with the trauma of the crime.
In a statement released before sentencing, Piper wrote: “On Aug. 21, 2003, I was brutally beaten and raped in Brentwood. The rapist attempted to drive away holding me captive in my vehicle. But believing in my heart that he would kill me, I was able to jump out the window of the car as he sped off.”
Eight years later, Piper moved to Canada to make a fresh start. Within months of her arrival, she was notified that her rapist had been identified by cold case detectives using DNA testing.
“Suddenly I was pulled back into the ordeal again and began what has now been over two years of a different kind of trauma and healing,” Piper said.
Trejo pleaded guilty to one count each of rape and carjacking. As part of the negotiated plea deal, Piper was given the opportunity to question Trejo before his sentence was handed down by Judge Elden S. Fox.
“Being able to question him is important to me and to my healing,” Piper said. “It will help me have some closure and put this experience of violence behind me.”
Addressing reporters outside the Airport Branch Courthouse, Piper discussed her ordeal.
“For the first few years, I literally felt like I was just in a fog. I felt that I was pretending to be a person and I was … going through the actions of day-to-day life, but … it wasn’t real.
Piper said she “feels I’ve like slowly been unloading all this stuff and the last of it is gone, and now I’m just going to start my life again.”