For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has announced that Jacob James Poochigian, 19, from Reno has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 29 years has been served. Poochigian was sentenced by Judge Connie Steinheimer last Friday for the crimes of Sexual Assault, Kidnapping, Robbery with Use of a Deadly Weapon, Battery with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault, and Coercion. Poochigian was also sentenced on a related case to a consecutive 15 year term, the maximum sentence allowed, for the crime of Solicitation to Commit Murder. Poochigian’s sentencing followed those of two co-defendants who participated with him in the armed robbery.
Demarcus Deandre Patrick, 23, and Mathew James Gray, 19, each pled guilty to one count of Robbery with Use of a Deadly Weapon and were sentenced to identical 13 year prison terms, with parole eligibility after 5 years.
After midnight on April 12, 2017, the Reno Police Department (RPD) responded to call from a 50 year old female victim who reported she had just been robbed at gunpoint by three male suspects and then sexually assaulted by one of the men. RPD officers located the suspects based off of the victim’s descriptions and RPD detectives were called in to further investigate the case. Through the investigation, detectives determined that the victim, on her way home from a local hospital, had departed the city bus and was walking toward her apartment when she was attacked by Poochigian and the two other defendants. During the attack, Poochigian pointed a gun (later determined to be a BB gun ) at the victim and held her with the gun pressed to her body while he and one of the other defendants took the bag she was carrying and searched her pockets for other valuables. When he found no money, Poochigian became angry, told the victim he would kill her if she resisted, forced the victim to the area of a dumpster behind a nearby business, and fondled and sexually assaulted her. After the assault, Poochigian told the victim to run back toward the street. The victim fled and was ultimately able to reach safety and seek assistance in calling police. Based on the interviews and other evidence, Poochigian and the two other suspects were arrested and the case was forwarded to this office for prosecution. While in jail, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered that Poochigian was soliciting an associate outside the jail to kill the victim in the sexual assault case in an attempt to avoid a conviction. After additional investigation by Reno Police Department detectives familiar with the sexual assault case, Poochigian was additionally charged with solicitation to commit murder.
At sentencing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Luke Prengaman argued that the crimes represented a law-abiding citizen’s worst nightmare, that significant, consecutive sentences were warranted for the violation, suffering, humiliation, and fear Poochigian inflicted upon the victim, and to send the message that any attempt to subvert the criminal justice process by interfering with witnesses would be dealt with harshly and to the full extent of the law.