Mad River Union
EUREKA – The 23-year prison sentence of convicted rapist Kailan Meserve, 45, of Petrolia, was the medium-term judgment Superior Court Judge Timothy P. Cissna could impose under the law.
The judge also sentenced Kailan Meserve July 28 to lifetime registration as a sex offender, a lifetime ban on gun possession and mandatory HIV/AIDS testing.
In addition to his conviction on three counts of forcible rape, Meserve was found guilty of six counts of forcible oral copulation, false imprisonment, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, criminal threats, two counts of sexual battery and sexual penetration by a foreign object.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Kailan Meserve raped one of his victims, Jane Doe 1, in the middle of the night, then returned a short time later to rape her again. She woke, terrified, to find him lying on top of her and fought to resist him. He threatened “he would freeze her body and feed her to animals.”
Kailan Meserve and his lawyer, Eureka attorney Russell Clanton, have 60 days to file an appeal.
Kailan Meserve’s conviction and prison sentence are a major victory for Deputy District Attorney Brienne Bennett, who won the jury’s guilty verdict on 15 felony charges in his attacks on two Jane Does.
Judge Cissna turned down oral requests, at times tearful ones, for minimum sentences from Kailan Meserve’s father, former Arcata City Councilmember Dave Meserve, sister Amy Meserve and wife Monica, mother of the prisoner’s 5-year-old twin girls.
Both women pleaded that their brother and husband had been “clean and sober” for a year. Monica Meserve said Kailan “had never been violent to me or my twin children. He is a good husband and father.”
She added, “I’m begging you to give my husband a chance. I know in my heart he didn’t do any of this.”
A bailiff handed a box of tissues to the convict as he sat with his back to the gallery. At no time did he turn to face his family members.
Dave Meserve told the court, “First of all, in no way do I want to minimize the seriousness” of the rape and other criminal charges. But he said that “from the point of view of justice,” he had two main objections. He accused the District Attorney’s office of “overcharging” his son (originally there were 19 charges) and complained that the $2 million bail was outsized and had “amazed” bail bondsmen.
Further in extenuation, Dave Meserve told Judge Cissna that his son had not resorted to the use of a knife in his attacks.
Next, he sought to discredit prosecutor Bennett and District Attorney Maggie Fleming. Their case against his son “may have been policy-driven or agenda-driven against people involved in the Humboldt County marijuana industry,” Dave Meserve alleged. But he offered no evidence or proof to back the allegation, nor did he explain what the so-called “agenda” had to do with the nature of his son’s grisly and lurid sexual violence.
Effectively, Dave Meserve protested, the judge was sentencing his son, 45, to a life term. “What purpose does it serve?” he asked.
However, Kailan Meserve will become eligible for community-based supervision when he completes 85 percent of his prison time.
Kailan Meserve was convicted in April of two attacks a year apart. The day after Christmas, 2013, he raped an acquaintance he found asleep in her Petrolia residence. While raping Jane Doe 2, he committed various other forcible sex acts before he slipped away, according to the prosecution. Not content, he chose to return and committed illegal sexual acts a second time.
In early November 2014, Kailan Meserve offered a ride home to a woman he met at a community event in Petrolia. He sidetracked her to a property he owned and raped her in a trailer there, committing other sex acts against her will. He strangled her, threatened to kill her and terrorized her with warnings that “he would freeze her body and feed her to animals.”
Carey Call, a victim witness advocate on Fleming’s staff, read a statement aloud to the court written by Jane Doe 2. Call said neither victim could endure the anxiety of appearing in the courtroom for Kailan Meserve’s sentencing.
Call quoted Jane Doe 2 that her repeated rape the day after Christmas 2013 robbed her of virtually all of her confidence and nearly destroyed her life. For hours after the attack she sobbed and vomited.
In the days that followed, she couldn’t face the outside world. Suffering from anxiety attacks and bouts of paranoia, she didn’t dare to leave home. She missed work for days, weeks and months at a time, and was barely able to function.
“This has stripped me of my ability to perform [my job] in a professional manner,” Call declared on Jane Doe 2’s behalf. “I can’t be in the dark because of you.”
The long-term impact of the trauma left “me uncontrollably, hysterically sobbing at all hours” of the day and night. She expects to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder indefinitely. Young, she fears she may never be able to have a husband and family.
In a prepared statement after Kailan Meserve’s conviction in April, prosecutor Bennett and DA Fleming said the two Jane Does’ “willingness to provide difficult testimony has enhanced public safety.”