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News update on Joseph Worth Jr.

by: Contributed graphic, Joseph Worth Jr.

Action: Joseph Worth Jr., 50, a transient, was sentenced on Friday, April 20, to 40 years in prison, the maximum sentence requested by prosecutors, for last year's brutal sexual assault of a Gresham girl.

Why it matters to you: The girl, who was 17 during the April 14, 2006, attack, was walking home from the movies when Worth forced her into a portable toilet just west of Southeast Stark Street and Northeast Hogan Drive, where he savagely beat and sexually assaulted her at knifepoint.

Police used DNA evidence from the victim's body to identify Worth as the suspect, sparking a multi-state manhunt that ended May 21, when two Stanfield police officers caught what they thought was a harmless transient shoplifter. Instead, an alert state trooper recognized Worth as being a suspect in the Gresham attack.

More background: During his two-day trial in February, Worth told the jury that he'd never seen the victim until his court proceedings. He denied hurting the girl, but admitted to being in Gresham at the time. Worth even said he shot up heroin and cocaine in the same portable toilet where the attack took place.

He claimed to not know why his saliva and semen was found on the victim. And when confronted with evidence that the girl's blood was found on his pocketknife when arrested, Worth accused police of planting it.

However, a jury convicted Worth on seven counts of kidnapping, sex abuse, assault and unlawful-sexual penetration. Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Christine Mascal requested the maximum sentenced allowed, 485 months, or 40 years and five months in prison. On April 20, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Frank Bearden granted her request.