Transient who tortured and murdered woman in Cabazon to be sentenced

Man left woman hog-tied for several days before she died

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -  A Cabazon man who beat a woman into a coma during an attempted sexual assault and left her hog-tied for several days, causing her death, is slated to be sentenced today to life in prison without the  possibility of parole. 

   Joseph Jimmy Blancarte, 50, was convicted in November of first-degree murder, torture and a special circumstance allegation of killing in the course of a rape, along with sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegations, in  the 2011 death of 43-year-old Mary Ann Sanchez.  

   Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jerome Brock is expected to impose the sentence required by law.    

   According to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Jared Haringsma, Blancarte attacked the victim on the afternoon of April 2, 2011, when she spurned his sexual advances.

   The defendant and Sanchez had been drinking together and were walking to the home of Sanchez's boyfriend, Manny Marquez, when they decided to sit down and finish a bottle of vodka in a vacant lot in the 14000 block of Citrus Avenue.

   According to the brief, Blancarte later admitted to sheriff's investigators that he had been ``in love'' with Sanchez since he first met her but she had never reciprocated. A witness who lived across the street from  Marquez testified that she had once seen and heard the defendant threaten to kill Sanchez with a rock during a jealous rage.

   As Blancarte and Sanchez were finishing the booze, the defendant became aggressive, and Sanchez scratched and bit him, according to court papers.

   Blancarte ``backhanded the victim,'' knocking her unconscious and pummeling her about the head, after which he stripped off her clothes off.  Blancarte told detectives that he attempted to have intercourse with Sanchez but couldn't.

   Two days later, Marquez found her underneath some bushes, bound with shoe strings and gagged.

   Crime scene photographs displayed during the trial showed Sanchez naked,  heavily bruised from head to toe, with deep recesses in her wrists and ankles, where she had been hog-tied behind her back. Her face was swollen twice its normal size, and her right eye hung open, staring glassily. Dirt and leaves had been stuffed in her mouth, sheriff's Deputy Alejandro Madrid testified.

   Because of the way in which she was bound and her exposure to extreme  conditions, Sanchez's feet were irreparably damaged and had to be partially  amputated, Haringsma said. She lingered in a coma at Desert Regional Medical  Center in Palm Springs until her death on May 4, 2011.

   Blancarte fled to Modesto, where he turned himself into police.  According to court records, the defendant has prior felony convictions for  grand theft and burglary, as well as misdemeanor convictions for disorderly conduct and being under the influence of illegal drugs.  

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