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Crime & Courts

Appellate Court affirms 100-year sentence for man guilty of sexually assaulting Lisle woman

The Second District Appellate Court of Illinois Wednesday affirmed the 100-year sentence imposed upon Roberto Noyola-Espinal for forcing his way into a Lisle woman’s home and sexually assaulting her in 1999.

On June 9, 2017, following a four-day bench trial, Noyola-Espinal was found guilty of one count of home invasion and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, according to a DuPage County State's Attorney's Office news release.

Six months later, Noyola-Espinal was sentenced to an aggregate of 100 years in prison--three consecutive 30-year terms for the three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and a consecutive 10-year term for home invasion, the release stated.

He had remained in the DuPage County Jail on bond of $1 million since returning to DuPage County in March 2014. The victim in the case passed away after Noyola-Espinal was charged but before he went to trial.

On Feb. 7, 1999, Noyola-Espinal approached the then 63-year-old woman’s apartment in Lisle and knocked on her patio door. Thinking it was a friend of hers, the woman began to open the door. Once she realized she did not know the person knocking on the door, she attempted to close the door. Noyola-Espinal forced the door open and entered the apartment, according to the release.

Noyola-Espinal then physically and sexually assaulted the woman causing bruising, abrasions and a cut on her chin. He told the victim he would come back and harm her if she called police. He then fled the state, eventually settling in Mexico, the release stated.

Following an investigation into the incident led by the Lisle Police Department, a DNA profile of the suspect was entered into the federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The investigation of the assault continued throughout the years.

In October 2013, Noyola-Espinal was arrested in Houston for illegally re-entering the United States. A DNA sample taken from Noyola-Espinal at this time resulted in a CODIS hit on the DNA collected from the 1999 sexual assault he committed in Lisle, according to the release.

Noyola-Espinal was extradited from Texas and returned to DuPage County to face the charges. An investigation into the assault revealed that he had been deported from the United States in 1998 and that he had illegally returned to the United States just months before committing the Lisle sexual assault.

In his appeal, Noyola-Espinal claimed that the 100-year sentence was excessive. The Appellate Court rejected Noyola-Espinal’s claim noting that the “trial court is in the best position to fashion a sentence that strikes an appropriate balance between the goals of protecting society and rehabilitating the defendant. Thus, we may not disturb a sentence within the applicable sentencing range unless the trial court abused its discretion.”

In its decision, the Appellate Court found “no dispute that defendant was eligible for an aggregate sentence of 24 to 120 years” and that “the court sentenced defendant to an aggregate term that is 20 years shorter than the maximum. That sentence was not an abuse of discretion.”

“After committing such a brutal crime, Mr. Noyola-Espinal thought he could avoid responsibility by fleeing the country,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. “Seventeen years later, justice caught up with him resulting in a well-deserved one-hundred-year sentence. His appeal was nothing short of a second attempt to avoid accountability for his actions and the resulting sentence. While the victim in this case lived long enough to see Mr. Noyola-Espinal charged for the crimes he committed against her, she unfortunately passed away prior to his guilty verdict and sentencing."

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