SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A 26-year-old man was convicted Thursday of raping a teenage girl he dragged into his van in Anaheim and attempting to abduct three other underage girls on separate occasions before being caught an hour after chasing one victim with a metal rod.
Elias Omar Xicotencatl was convicted of one count each of rape, sodomy and assault of a minor with the intent to commit a sex offense and three counts of attempted kidnapping to commit a sex crime, all felonies. Jurors, who began deliberating at 3 p.m. Tuesday, also found true sentencing enhancements for the use of a deadly weapon.
Xicotencatl, who is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 8, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Xicotencatl “is nothing short of a sexual predator and his prey of choice was preteen or teenage girls walking to schools,” Deputy District Attorney Rick Zimmer said in his opening statement of the trial.
All of the attacks were near Loara High School and Ball Junior High School in Anaheim.
The defendant’s first attack was on March 31, 2011, when he grabbed a 14- year-old girl who was on her way to Loara High School, put a knife to her throat and shoved her in a white van, Zimmer said.
A semen cell obtained when the girl was examined matched the defendant’s genetic material, according to the prosecutor.
The teen was blindfolded with a rag during the attack, so “she doesn’t remember what he looks like,” Zimmer said. “That’s why the DNA is important.”
Another victim was approached by the defendant on Nov. 9, 2012, Zimmer said. Xicotencatl asked the 12-year-old girl to help him retrieve his keys, which he said he had dropped in his vehicle in a tight spot that his hands were too big to reach, the prosecutor said.
The girl “figured something wasn’t right about this and kept going,” Zimmer said.
When the defendant persisted, the girl ran for help and he fled, the prosecutor said.
About an hour later on the same day, the defendant approached another girl with the same story that he couldn’t reach his keys and needed help, Zimmer said.
The girl also ran away and threw a water bottle at the defendant, Zimmer said. The girl went to a nearby home and banged on the door as she dialed 911 on a cell phone, prompting the defendant to run away, Zimmer said.
Another student was also walking to Loara High School when he approached her on July 13, 2013, again claiming he needed help reaching his keys, Zimmer said.
“He gave her a creepy vibe, so she kept walking,” the prosecutor said.
The defendant, wielding a metal rod with a sharpened point, began chasing the girl, prompting someone who “heard the commotion” to yell at him to scram, Zimmer said.
The woman who came to the girl’s rescue jotted down the license plate of the abductor’s car, leading to Xicotencatl’s arrest a short time later, Zimmer said.
Defense attorney Ricardo Nicol told jurors that the girl who was raped gave conflicting suspect descriptions. She told police he was 6-foot-5 and had a long beard, Nicol said.
The defendant is 5-foot-7 and has always been clean-shaven, his attorney said.
The blindfold put on the rape victim had DNA evidence on it that matches a “close relative” of the defendant’s, but not Xicotencatl, according to Nicol.
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