AUSTIN, Texas — A Travis County District Court on Wednesday sentenced Franklin Aguilar-Estrada, 32, to 80 years in prison after he sexually assaulted women he picked up from bars in Austin and Houston.
The court sentenced the man to 20 years for each count of sexual assault and 40 years for aggravated kidnapping. Twenty years is the maximum punishment for sexual assault convictions.
These charges stemmed from an incident that occurred in the early hours of Dec. 14, 2013. The victim stated she was on Sixth Street in Austin celebrating her birthday and college graduation. Her friend testified the victim became intoxicated, so the friend tried to find a taxi home. Instead, Aguilar-Estrada approached them and offered them a ride.
After helping the unconscious victim into the backseat, her friend stated Aguilar-Estrada made sexual advances toward herself. Once they arrived at the victim's home, the friend stated she exited the car and the man took off with the victim still in the backseat.
The victim then testified that she awoke in the backseat as she was being sexually assaulted by Aguilar-Estrada and that he began to choke her when she resisted. At some point, she said she was able to escape to a nearby motel and call 911. When police arrived, she was wearing only a shirt, bra and socks.
Officials said DNA evidence was discovered as a result of a sexual assault exam, but the suspect was not identified until 2016.
During the trial, the jury was also presented evidence that the man had been convicted of a similar crime in Houston six months after he assaulted the victim in Austin. The victim from the Houston case recalled a similar incident, stating she was able to jump from his moving car to escape.
After being convicted in the Houston case, Austin officials were later able to connect his DNA to the Austin case.
The Austin victim thanked the jury from the witness stand and said their guilty verdict allowed her to finally feel like someone believed her.
"I was incredibly moved by the courage and strength displayed by both of these women," said lead prosecutor Matt Campbell following the verdict. "I was proud to see how the two victims came together and sought support from each other during the trial."