Convicted of raping a female child repeatedly, a 44-year-old Riverton man was sentenced on Thursday to between 56 and 65 years in prison.
David Wayne Munda was convicted by a jury in Fremont County in May, of multiple sexual abuse charges against one child, of attempting to have sex with another child, and of punching his main victim in the head.
‘The Power To Make Him Stop’
Fremont County District Court Judge Jason Conder at the Thursday sentencing hearing said that for the victims, the effects of Munda’s crimes may never be fully remedied.
“The defendant persistently and consistently, not only attempted to but did successfully exert dominion, power and control over little girls,” said Conder. “This is not something like somebody stealing a car that you can pay back and get a brand new car and roll down the road, and life’s back to normal.”
Conder acknowledged one of the legal pillars of sentencing, that is, the concept that a tough sentence may deter others from similar crimes, and may also deter the perpetrator from committing those crimes again.
“(The victim) asked him to stop and he wouldn’t,” said Conder. “But I do have the power to make him stop, and to deter him from doing that more.”
Conder also ordered Munda to pay $1,445 in restitution.
Not An Easy Go
Kate Strike, one of Munda’s defense attorneys, had asked for a total sentence of between 15 and 50 years.
Strike emphasized that Munda has no criminal history or addiction issues, has always been gainfully employed, is educated, has a committed partner and has been described as a dependable employee.
She also said Munda endured childhood trauma.
“Mr. Munda himself has not had an easy go,” said Strike. “He came from an abused home, where his mother was his primary parent. He never met his biological father. He… (was) physically and sexually abused in their home.”
Strike said Munda is “able to change” – and yet, still maintains his innocence in the case.
Munda’s wife and mother-in-law spoke on his behalf, saying they believe in him.
Munda thanked his attorney and the court; the former for having worked on his defense and the latter for making the trial as “painless” as possible.
Request Of A Century
Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun had asked Conder to put Munda away for a century.
“This is very close to, if not the worst crime that a human can commit,” said LeBrun.
LeBrun said that prior to the series of molestations against the main victim, there was also a period of grooming beginning in her early childhood. The prosecutor asked for a sentence of between 90 and 100 years in prison.
Munda has been in jail for nearly a year. His victims came forward late last summer, and the defendant chose to go to trial in May. At the trial, Munda’s defense strategy was to question the witnesses’ credibility. His other attorney Jeff Stanbury pointed to the girls’ “defiance” and disputed their integrity.
The lead prosecutor Seth Griswold, conversely, outlined the unlikelihood that these girls, now young women, would attend a week-long trial and take part in a year-long prosecution in which they’d be called liars, if they didn’t have a good reason for doing so.