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In the Shadows of Canton: A Predator Unmasked and Sentenced

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In a gripping climax to a harrowing tale of manipulation and terror, Mariano Delfino Diego-Tercero, a 35-year-old Canton resident, has been condemned to life behind bars. This sentence was handed down by Chief Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea on February 9, sealing the fate of a man who used fear, violence, and deceit to prey on vulnerable women.

The case, which sent shockwaves through the community, began with an investigation by the Canton Police Department in November 2022. A woman’s brave decision to come forward set the wheels of justice in motion, revealing a nightmare scenario. She recounted a chilling encounter with Diego-Tercero, who, under the guise of familiarity and trust, subjected her to an unspeakable act of violence— raping her at knifepoint, a blade pressed to her neck as a stark symbol of his control and her helplessness.

As the trial unfolded over five grueling days, the courtroom turned into a battleground for truth. The victim, alongside law enforcement officers and a sexual assault nurse expert in trauma, testified against Diego-Tercero, painting a vivid picture of the atrocities he committed. Their testimonies were bolstered by another woman, who courageously shared her own encounter with Diego-Tercero’s sexual predation, linking him to more heinous acts.

The jury, after three hours of deliberation, delivered a unanimous verdict, finding Diego-Tercero guilty of rape, two counts of aggravated assault, and attempted rape. The conviction was a testament to the community’s refusal to turn a blind eye to such behavior.

At the sentencing hearing, the courtroom echoed with the somber tones of victim impact statements. The survivors spoke of the deep scars left by Diego-Tercero’s actions— humiliation, helplessness, and an enduring despair.

Assistant District Attorney Alana Driscoll, of the Special Victims Unit, branded Diego-Tercero a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” a predator who exploited the trust of those around him to commit his crimes under the guise of a benevolent, Christian man.

Judge McElyea’s decision to sentence Diego-Tercero to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 30 years before eligibility for parole, sends a clear message. Additionally, his mandatory registration as a sex offender and the prohibition against contacting his victims serve as safeguards for the community.

This dark chapter in Canton’s history is now closed, with a predator removed from the streets.

For those affected by similar cases, resources like LiveSafe Resources stand ready to offer support and a path to healing.

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