An Oxnard man was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for kidnapping his estranged wife and stabbing her several times before she escaped the moving vehicle he was holding her inside, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Gustavo Diaz, 31, was found guilty by a jury of premeditated attempted murder, kidnapping, inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats on Aug. 22, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
He and his wife had been separated for about a year and a half and were in the process of a divorce when he forced her into a car at knifepoint somewhere in Oxnard on Dec. 10, 2015, according to Deputy DA Amber Lee.
“He drove throughout the county with her in the car, refusing to let her out,” Lee said.
Eventually, they ended up in Fillmore, where the victim tried jumping out of the car while they were stopped at a red light.
“She managed to open the door,” Lee said. “(Some witnesses) saw her foot kind of get out of the car but then he forced her back in.”
After pulling her back into the car, Diaz sped away and ended up driving east along Highway 126. As he drove down the highway, he stabbed his estranged wife in the chest, arm and back as he continued threatening to kill her. But she survived.
She managed to jump out of the moving vehicle as it continued traveling along the 126 in the outskirts of Fillmore, heading toward Los Angeles County, according to Lee. Diaz dumped the knife used in the attack and the victim’s car in a remote canyon in L.A. County, prosecutors said.
In addition to stabbing wounds, the victim suffered a collapsed lung and had to have 13 to 14 staples placed in her head, Lee said. She was hospitalized and had to undergo surgery to treat the injuries.