A man convicted of opening fire on Inglewood police, barricading himself inside a home while holding his off-and-on girlfriend and her 14-year-old daughter hostage for more than eight hours and raping the teen during the standoff, was sentenced late last week to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen denied the defense’s request for a new trial for Christopher Warsaw.
The 47-year-old defendant was convicted March 17 of nine counts each of attempted murder and assault on a peace officer with a semi-automatic firearm, two counts of false imprisonment of a hostage and one count each of forcible rape, kidnapping and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Jurors also found that Warsaw had a 1989 conviction for voluntary manslaughter in Los Angeles County.
The teenage girl’s father called his daughter’s assailant an “animal” and urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence on Warsaw.
“He forever scarred a pure and innocent child,” the man told the judge.
Neighbors called 911 on Nov. 27, 2013, after hearing piercing screams from the girl, who ran outside when Warsaw returned to the home with a gun after his girlfriend had told him to leave, according to Deputy District Attorney Mary Murray. The teenage girl was seen being dragged by Warsaw back into the house, according to the prosecutor.
Warsaw opened fire on Inglewood police officers when they responded to the 911 call, with one officer being shot in the barrage of gunfire and another officer hurt after falling, according to the prosecutor. Police said a bulletproof vest saved the life of the officer who was shot.
Officers returned fire, but no one inside the home was struck.
Warsaw barricaded himself inside the home with the woman and her daughter, with the standoff resulting in the evacuation of surrounding homes.
The woman and her daughter walked out of the home after Warsaw surrendered more than 8 1/2 hours later.
The teenage girl informed her stepmother 11 days later that she had been raped, and DNA evidence that was collected linked Warsaw to the attack, according to the prosecutor.
After the jury’s verdict, defense attorney Ludlow B. Creary II said, “I don’t think the specific intent was there for the attempted murder. I think the jury got it wrong on the specific intent.”
Warsaw’s lawyer said in March that he thought that the “Inglewood Police Department really needs to have better training.”
“I think they escalated the situation by their actions that didn’t need to be escalated and in the process almost killed three people,” he said.
The prosecutor countered, “I believe that their response was very measured and controlled and the defendant’s actions dictated the officers’ response.”