A New Hampshire man who received four consecutive life sentences for sexually assaulting a young girl asked the judge presiding over his case whether he couldn’t receive the death penalty instead.
Patrick Eschenbrenner was convicted in December of seven counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one account of witness tampering related to his serial abuse of a seven-year-old girl. He had been caring for the girl’s mother, who was dying of cancer, when the abuse began in 2002.
Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard argued that his two previous convictions in 1998 made Eschenbrenner eligible for life in prison without the possibility of parole. According to Blanchard, Eschenbrenner was the most “narcissistic sex offender” he had ever encountered, preying equally on girls, boys, and adult women.
The witness tampering charged stemmed from a visit he paid to his victim, who is now a teenager, while he was out on bail. Jurors listened to a phone call that he placed to her subsequent to that visit in which he said, “I used you, and I am sorry. It was selfish, sick and wrong.”
When Eschenbrenner learned that Judge N. William Delker intended on handing down four consecutive life sentences, he reportedly said “I wonder whether or not lethal injection was an option.”
Judge Delker informed him that the death penalty was not an option, then upbraided him for trying to commit suicide during jury selection the previous April.
“The fact [is] that you tried to take your own life before you were brought to justice — you tried to avoid the consequences for your behavior.”
["The prisoner worries about a criminal conduct being behind a lattice" on Shutterstock]
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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