Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Andrew Luster


Jurors took two days to reach a verdict. On Jan. 21, they declared Luster guilty of an astounding 86 of 87 charges against him, deadlocking on a single, insignificant poisoning charge.

Many of the counts had been added to California state law in the wake of the 1996 federal drug-induced sexual assault law. Luster was convicted of 20 counts of drug-induced rape, 17 counts of raping an unconscious victim, and multiple counts of sodomy and oral copulation by use of drugs.

A month later, the three victims were invited back into court before sentencing.

"Mr. Luster should be here today," said Carey. "He should have to face his victims so our voices haunt his dreams."

"How can I possibly begin to outline all of the ways in which Andrew Luster has damaged my life?" said Tonja. "I am still afraid of falling asleep at night."

"I'm only 23 and I'm going to live with this for the rest of my life," said Shauna. "He didn't have any regard when he raped me. He didn't have any remorse during his trial. He should be sentenced to the maximum for his crimes."

Defense attorneys tried to delay sentencing until Luster could be located, but Judge Riley said, "The bottom line is Mr. Luster could be here today if he wanted to be, and he is not."

Riley, perhaps still embarrassed and angry, lowered the boom.

He gave Luster consecutive six-year sentences on each of the 20 rape counts, plus four years for poisoning — a total of 124 years in prison. Luster would have little hope of anything but a mercy parole in his lifetime. Riley added a $1 million fine, which Luster was to pay to the California crime victims' restitution fund.

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