Two 99-year sentences in aggravated sexual assault
A Wichita Falls man was sentenced to two stacked ninety-nine-year prison terms on Wednesday evening in the 46th Judicial District Court of Wilbarger County by Judge Dan Mike Bird.
Mason Dale-Ray Munoz, 22, was convicted by a jury of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a fourteen-year-old girl that occurred in July of 2020. According to authorities, Munoz approached the victim via Snapchat, a social media app, just a couple of days prior to the sexual assault. The victim informed Munoz that she was 14 years of age, and while Munoz was actually 21 at the time, he told the victim that he was only 18. Munoz also sent photographs to the victim of a younger, attractive male claiming that they were of him.
“In just a few days, Munoz gained the trust of the victim by feigning interest in her and her hobbies,” stated District Attorney Staley Heatly. “Everything he told her was a lie, but he knew it was what she wanted to hear.”
In the early morning hours of Saturday, July 12th, the victim snuck out of her house to meet Munoz at his vehicle which was parked across the street. When she got near the back door of the car, he opened it quickly, grabbed her by the front of her shirt and slammed her inside the car. He then strangled the victim and threatened to kill her if she fought him. Any time the victim attempted to resist Munoz, he would tighten his grip around her throat. When he was finished, Munoz told the victim not to tell anyone and released her from his vehicle. The victim told her parents what happened and they contacted the Vernon Police Department. The victim received a sexual assault exam at United Regional and DNA collected during that exam matched DNA taken from Munoz by Texas Ranger Jake Weaver. It took the jury less than 30 minutes to convict Munoz.
During the punishment phase of the trial, the jury heard from another 16-year-old girl who alleged that she was raped by Munoz in Wichita Falls when she was 13 years old. In that case, Munoz allegedly followed the same pattern by pretending to be someone else on Snapchat and then luring the victim into his car while choking her and sexually assaulting her. The state also presented testimony from another 16-year-old girl who worked with Munoz at a restaurant in Wichita Falls in 2020. She testified that Munoz would smell her hair and make inappropriate sexual remarks to her at work. On one occasion, he followed her into a walk-in freezer when no one was looking, grabbed her from behind and put her in a chokehold until she thought she was going to pass out. Additionally, the jury learned that Munoz had previously been adjudicated guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child when he was a juvenile.
It took the jury less than one hour to assess the maximum sentence of 99 years on each count of aggravated sexual assault. At sentencing, District Judge Dan Mike Bird ordered that the sentences run consecutively, essentially converting the sentence in to a sentence of 198 years.
“Mason Munoz has a disturbing pattern of victimizing young girls,” stated Assistant District Attorney Jon Whitsitt. “The jury sent a message that his behavior is unacceptable and through their sentence they are protecting young girls everywhere.”