A man who kidnapped a 10-year-old girl from her bed in Northridge in the dark and sexually assaulted her at various locations was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, with a judge calling him “a predator.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen also ordered Tobias Dustin Summers to serve 14 potential life terms behind bars for the March 27, 2013, attack.
“The defendant is a predator in every sense of the word,” Coen said shortly after denying a motion for a new trial for the 34-year-old defendant, who had testified that the victim “looked like a little version of my mom.”
The judge called the girl — who testified during Summers’ trial — one of the bravest young women he had seen, and said his heart goes out to her and her family for the terrible suffering they had endured.
The girl’s father said his daughter is a “survivor” who insisted on testifying against Summers to ensure that he stay behind bars.
“He is a monster,” the girl’s father said. “He is a danger to everybody. If he ever gets out, he will do it again.”
Fidgeting before she spoke, the girl said, “It was not right. No one should ever have to go through that, ever. I hope he goes away forever …”
On Sept. 4, a seven-man, five-woman jury convicted Summers of more than 30 felony counts, including aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual intercourse with a child 10 or younger, kidnapping, kidnapping to commit rape, first-degree burglary and using a minor for sex acts.
Jurors also found true allegations that he had used a knife and belt and that the victim had been bound or tied during some of the crimes.
Deputy District Attorney Laura Knight told the jury that Summers chose the house at random, threatened the girl with a knife and then repeatedly sexually assaulted her in his car, a storage yard, a drainage tunnel and a vacant house.
Summers used a belt as a weapon and a restraint, using it to secure a gag in her mouth at one point, choking her with at another, the prosecutor said.
Defense attorney Jeff Yanuck contended that there was no credible DNA evidence that Summers was involved in any sexual assault and that the girl first told police that Summers was a man who had helped her, dropping her off at a hospital.
Summers’ attorney suggested that it was someone else who assaulted the girl and that his client had saved her.
There was “no sperm, no saliva or any blood of Mr. Summers anywhere,” Yanuck told jurors. “He chose to tell you what happened. Mr. Summers told you that he did not have any inappropriate touching of (the girl) and the DNA evidence supports that.”
Testifying in his own defense, Summers maintained that he was telling the truth about his interaction with the girl.
Knight contended that Summers washed DNA evidence off the girl at a vacant house — one of the locations he took her.
A small amount of DNA on the girl’s face was tested and found to be male. Summers could not be excluded as a contributor, while DNA on her shorts was “found consistent with the defendant,” the prosecutor said.
“He kidnapped, he raped her, he sexually assaulted her … He would have you believe that, somehow, he saved her life,” Knight said in her closing argument.
The girl testified that she was led from her home in the dark and told to get into a car driven by another man, who got out of the vehicle after her assailant said he was going to drop her off at a fire station.
“Were you scared?” the prosecutor asked.
“Yes,” the girl responded.
She said she “wanted to go home.”
The girl’s mother testified that she woke up, heard noises in her daughter’s room and saw their dog trying to get at the girl’s pet hamster, then realized that her daughter was not in bed.
She said she started screaming her daughter’s name and called 911 after not being able to find her. Jurors heard a recording of the woman’s emotional 911 call reporting her daughter’s disappearance.
The woman said she saw her daughter with scratches and bruises later that afternoon at a hospital and was “relieved” that the child was alive. She said her daughter told her a few days later about details of the sexual assaults.
Summers was arrested almost a month later at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center south of Tijuana, Mexico.
Daniel Martinez, 31, who was charged along with Summers, was convicted last October of burglary but acquitted of the girl’s kidnapping. He was sentenced last November to six years behind bars.
—City News Service
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