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Life Sentence Ordered for Man Convicted in Sexual Assault of German Tourist at Santa Barbara Motel

Felipe Martinez-Gallegos Click to view larger
Felipe Martinez-Gallegos (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

A 33-year-old Santa Barbara man has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2015 sexual assault of a German tourist in her waterfront motel room.

Felipe Martinez-Gallegos pleaded no contest to one count of assault with intent to commit rape, oral copulation or sexual penetration during the commission of a residential burglary, according to Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley.

Authorities say Martinez-Gallegos used a key he had kept from a previous stay at the Ala Mar Motel, 102 W. Cabrillo Blvd., to enter the room about 6:30 a.m. Jan. 3, 2015.

“The survivor, asleep in her motel room, was awakened by the sound of Martinez-Gallegos manipulating the lock on the motel room door,” Dudley said in a statement.

She said he entered the room and began assaulting the 52-year-old woman.

The woman was able to call 9-1-1 by pressing the emergency call button on her cell phone while fighting off her attacker, Dudley said.

Martinez-Gallegos ran off, but was soon apprehended by police officers who had swarmed the West Beach neighborhood.

Dudley commended the survivor’s bravery and the SBPD investigation.

“The pleasure of traveling on my own has been shattered, and is clouded by an ever-present fear of something bad happening out of the blue,” the woman said at Martinez-Gallegos’ sentencing.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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