LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Prosecution and defense attorneys Monday presented closing arguments in the trial of Tobias Summers, the man suspected of kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old Northridge girl two and a half years ago.
Summers, 34, has pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of kidnapping a victim under 14, kidnapping to commit another crime, first-degree burglary with a person present and 34 sex-related counts, including charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, oral copulation and sexual penetration with a child 10 or younger.
The crime occurred March 27, 2013, prosecutors said, when Summers is accused of breaking into the 10-year-old girl’s home and sexually assaulting the girl in the back of a moving van. Summers’ friend, Danny Martinez, was charged with lesser crimes in connection with the incident and convicted in October of burglary. He was sentenced to six years behind bars.
The girl was found about 12 hours after her disappearance, wandering barefoot and bruised around a San Fernando Valley Starbucks parking lot.
Summers was arrested in Baja, Mexico, after a month-long manhunt in 2013. Summers was a transient with an extensive criminal record that includes robbery, grand theft auto, possession of explosives, a battery arrest involving child annoyance and kidnapping.
Opening statements in the kidnapping and rape trial were heard earlier this month.
Last week, Summers told jurors he did not kidnap and rape the girl. Instead, Summers said he acted as her “savior” by giving her a shirt and taking her to a hospital.
“I broke into a laundry room at a nearby apartment and stole a shirt and put it on her. Then I took her to the hospital,” Summers said. “I’m telling the jury the truth, the absolute truth.”
When asked by the judge to appear before the court during closing arguments, Summers refused to leave his holding cell until the judge threatened to have him dragged out to the courtroom.
Summers’ attorney then told jurors that the physical evidence presented in court does not prove that a sexual assault took place.
Prosecutors countered with vivid details of a repeated verbal and physical assaults on the 10-year-old girl that included stuffing her mouth with a rag and tying a belt around her neck.
The girl, who has been identified only as “Nicole,” and who is now 13, has also testified.
Deputy District District Attorney Laura Knight says Summers broke into Nicole’s home, crept into her bedroom, shook her awake and kidnapped her. Knight says Summers took her out the back sliding door of her home, down her street, through an alley and into a car.
“He told her to take off all of her clothes and he called her a slut, but she’ll tell you she didn’t know at that time what that meant,” Knight said in opening statements earlier this month.
Summers and his attorney recently offered prosecutors a plea deal in which Summers would spend 50 years behind bars. The district attorney rejected the deal, saying Summers deserves 100 years in jail, CBS2’s Dave Lopez reports.
Jury deliberations are expected to begin Tuesday.
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