Crime & Courts

Man sentenced to 18 years in stabbing death after false rape claim

A 30-year-old man has been ordered to serve 18 years and 10 months in prison for murdering a man last December over a rape that never happened.

When authorities found the body of Moises Arias-Aranda in a maroon SUV parked along North Hydraulic last Christmas Eve, his hands and legs were bound with electrical cords, he had been stabbed in the back 36 times and had head and facial injuries. A piece of cloth tied to look like a noose lay beside him.

A woman connected with his killing told authorities that she and Diego Olivas had lured Arias-Aranda to a house in the 100 block of West 24th Street North in Wichita so Olivas could beat him up for raping her on Dec. 23, 2015.

But, according to statements made in court during Olivas’ sentencing hearing Wednesday, the woman had been lying about the sexual assault.

An autopsy found Arias-Aranda died from stab wounds, head trauma and strangulation. He was 42.

“This is an unconscionable and horrific crime, and no one is responsible for making you do anything,” District Judge Bruce Brown told Olivas before handing down the 226-month sentence.

“Even if a rape would have happened, it really in my opinion doesn’t at all mitigate” the circumstances or justify “people taking the law into their own hands,” he said, adding: “There’s no excuse.”

Olivas, of California, pleaded guilty to an amended charged of second-degree intentional murder and kidnapping on Oct. 4 after hearing testimony from four witnesses at his jury trial. Initially prosecutors charged him with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree premeditated murder, which carries a presumptive prison sentence of 50 years to life.

He is one of five people being prosecuted for Arias-Aranda’s killing.

During the sentencing hearing, defense attorney Quentin Pittman called the killing heinous and said Olivas has “never shied away from that.” But, he said, it ultimately was the woman’s false allegations that “set off the chain of events.”

“She is ultimately responsible for that person’s death,” he argued.

Given a chance to address the court, Olivas stood and said: “If the family (of Arias-Aranda) was here I wanted to say sorry to them.” He wore a green Sedgwick County Jail jumpsuit and shackles around his wrists and ankles.

Angela Wilson, a Sedgwick County assistant district attorney, told the court the victim’s family could not attend the sentencing hearing because they live in California and opted instead to write letters expressing their grief over the killing. None of those were read aloud in court.

Olivas’ sentence follows that anticipated in the plea agreement negotiated in the case. Brown also ordered him to pay just over $1,600 to cover the cost of Arias-Aranda’s funeral.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker