Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: In mid-2000s, there was a nurse who was abducted from Mercy San Juan Hospital. She was forced to withdraw funds from the ATM, driven around for several hours, assaulted, beaten and set afire. She survived her ordeal. What happened to her assailant?
Submitted by: Laurie, Copalis Beach, Wash.
ANSWER: Daniel James Harper was twice tried and convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting the woman, and then trying to kill her when he stabbed her in the neck, set her on fire and left her for dead on a rural road near Thornton.
He was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
According to stories in The Bee, Harper kidnapped the woman from the Mercy San Juan Medical Center parking lot in Carmichael about 6 a.m. Oct. 30, 2004, as she arrived for work. He made her withdraw $200 from an ATM on Madison Avenue and held her captive for hours at knifepoint, sexually assaulting her, beating her unconscious, slitting her throat, setting her on fire and dumping her near a slough before fleeing in her car.
The woman regained consciousness and managed to wave down help on New Hope Road in southern Sacramento County.
Harper was first convicted and sentenced to life in prison in April 2006. In 2008, the conviction was overturned by an appellate court that ruled Harper was not given all the information he needed before defending himself.
Harper was again convicted in 2009, in the second trial. He also had two previous "strike" convictions, for robbery and first-degree burglary, making him eligible for a life term under the state's "three strikes" law.
Now 37 years old, Harper is incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga.
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