Hitting a woman is cowardly enough. But hitting a pregnant woman is one of the lowest crimes a guy can muster. A federal judge seems to agree, sentencing a man found guilty of brutalizing his pregnant girlfriend to 25 years in prison.

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Phillip Gomez, 29, did more than hit his girlfriend once or twice, according to a news release from the District of Arizona’s U.S. Attorney’s Office – he left her with more than 40 bruises all over her body, permanent scars from lacerations on her face and such a severely beaten head that both her eyes were swollen shut.

She had to be flown to the hospital via emergency helicopter.

Gomez, of the Gila River Indian community, kept up his assault for three or four hours. Not only did he punch, beat and kick the woman who was carrying his child, but he repeatedly dragged her around by her hair, according to evidence presented at the trial.

As if his fists and feet were not enough, Gomez ripped a stereo speaker off the stereo unit and used that as a weapon, too.

Gomez also forced his girlfriend to shower after the attack – in a feeble effort to wash away bloody evidence. Photos of the scene revealed blood and hair clumps littered throughout the house.

Gomez’s brother walked in during the brutal assault – but did nothing to stop it. The attack only ended when the girlfriend’s mother came home and called 911.

Tapes of the call reveal Gomez yelling in the background, “She made me.”

“She made me.”

Too bad he wasn’t also found guilty of being delusional.

His last push at keeping all charges out of court was repeatedly calling his severely injured girlfriend at the hospital, trying to convince her not to show up in court.

While she was reluctant to take the stand at first, she gathered up her courage and offered some powerful – and apparently damning – testimony.

Such a move may have likely changed her status to hero rather than statistic.

Gomez was found guilty in May of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, assault with a dangerous weapon and kidnapping. He was sentenced this week by U.S. Judge Susan R. Bolton to a quarter-century behind bars.

Domestic violence continues to be one of the most common crimes, with Tucson police statistics alone noting thousands of assaults every year. More than 4,500 domestic violence assaults were reported so far in 2010, with tallies from 2009 and 2008 at no fewer than 5,100 and 4,900, respectively.

The players:

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Gila River Police Department and the FBI. The prosecution was handled by Sharon Sexton and Leta Hollon, Assistant United States Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona.

The quote:

“The sentence of 25 years is a just sentence given the brutality the defendant inflicted on the woman who was bearing his child,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “This man brutalized the victim for almost four hours and later tried to convince her to not come forward. I want to commend my prosecutors who worked tirelessly to obtain justice in this case.”

[tnipoll]

What do you think?

Is 25 years enough for this fine fellow or should authorities throw away the key?

Would you have the courage to come forward after such an ordeal?

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