WCDA Secures Lengthy Prison Term for Violent Offender
Defendant Convicted on Sexual Assault and Kidnapping Charges Sentenced to Life

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)


The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has secured a life sentence for a defendant previously convicted of First Degree Kidnapping and multiple counts of Sexual Assault, Attempted Sexual Assault and Battery with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault, including by Strangulation. John Anthony Wayne Degen Sr., 36, from Reno was convicted in a September trial on 8 felony counts of the above charges.  At sentencing last week, Judge David A. Hardy ordered that all sentences are to run consecutive, ensuring that Degen must serve a minimum of 73 years in prison before parole eligibility begins.


The case against Degen began on December 25, 2017 when the Reno Police Department (RPD) responded to Renown Medical Center on a report of a sexual assault.  The female victim told police she had been sexually assaulted by a man at a midtown Reno motel. RPD detectives began an investigation and determined that the victim had met Degen hours before the assault, while riding the Citi fare bus. Degen was able to convince the victim to allow him to share her motel room.  The victim awoke during the night to Degen violently sexually assaulting her. Throughout the night Degen forced multiple sex acts upon the victim, handcuffed and tied her up, repeatedly strangled her to the point of unconsciousness, and used a stun gun on her. As a result the victim suffered numerous physical injuries.  A subsequent search of the defendant’s Sun Valley home resulted in the recovery of two stun guns and a pair of hand cuffs.  Degen was arrested by RPD detectives and this office filed formal criminal charges against him.  The case proceeded to trial and Degen was ultimately convicted.


At sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Amos Stege argued the repeated, sadistic nature of the crimes, and Degen’s three prior California felony convictions warranted a lengthy prison term.  

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