A 37-year-old man was convicted Wednesday of raping a 14-year-old girl in Cabrillo Park in Santa Ana and attacking another woman a few months later.
Cornelio B. Chairez Velasquez was convicted of attempted forcible oral copulation on a minor 14 and older, sexual penetration of a child 14 and older by foreign object by force, forcible rape, forcible oral copulation of a minor 14 and older, assault, and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, all felonies.
Jurors, who began deliberating late Tuesday afternoon and reached verdicts at the end of the day Wednesday, also found true sentencing enhancements for personal use of a deadly weapon and infliction of great bodily injury.
Jurors acquitted Velasquez of attempted murder and attempted voluntary manslaughter as well as a count of assault with the intent to commit a sex offense.
Velasquez, who is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 4, faces up to 45 years to life in prison.
The 14-year-old girl got into an argument with her mother and ran away from home Nov. 24, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Carroll. She sat on a bench where she planned to sleep about 1 a.m. at the park when the defendant approached her, Carroll said.
The girl felt uncomfortable so she tried to walk away from him, but when he called out to her he brandished a knife and ordered her to sit down on the bench, Carroll said. He attempted to force her to perform a sex act on him and when that didn’t work he made her lie down and then sexually assaulted her, Carroll said.
On Jan. 25, a woman drove herself and three friends from Long Beach to Santa Ana to see a show at Original Mike’s restaurant. After the show they continued drinking at another bar and then stayed the night at a Motel 6.
When the woman woke up the next day she realized she had left her car at the bar so she sent out on foot to retrieve it. She met the defendant at a gas station at Edinger and Grand avenues, where Velasquez offered her a ride in his pickup truck.
The two drove to his motel in Santa Ana where they drank beers and smoked marijuana, Carroll said. At some point while partying he “snorted a white substance,” Carroll said.
At some point as she adjusted her wig in front of a mirror, he came up behind her, slapped her on the buttocks and pulled her pants down, Carroll said.
The woman said no, pulled up her pants and backed away, Carroll said. When he offered to pay her for sex she said no, which angered him, so he punched her in the face and head and beat her down into a fetal position, Carroll said.
The woman, however, managed to grab her fanny pack, pull out her phone and dial 911 during the scuffle, Carroll said. The defendant straddled her and put his fingers in her mouth to keep her from talking to the dispatcher, Carroll said.
The woman bit his fingers, prompting him to get up and leave, but he returned moments later accusing her of taking his car keys, Carroll said. By then the woman had put the phone on speaker as he took the strap from her fanny pack and choked her with it, Carroll said.
The woman managed to shout out the name of the motel they were at, and as the defendant attempted to leave he was met by responding officers, Carroll said.
Velasquez claimed the two had negotiated a price for a sex act, but as they disrobed she demanded more money and he refused, Carroll said. When the woman refused to do the sex act he angrily slapped her before leaving and returning to another scuffle with her as he thought she had put his keys in her fanny pack, Carroll said.
Investigators linked Velasquez to the rape of the teen through his DNA on discarded cigarette butts at the crime scene and semen found in the girl, Carroll said.
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