A state appeals court panel has upheld a Van Nuys man’s conviction for attacks on two women who accepted a ride in his vehicle, including one who was raped.
In a ruling Tuesday, the three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to support Enefiok Joseph Edem’s conviction on one count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, kidnapping to commit rape or forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint and attempted forcible rape.
The charges stem from a June 2015 attack on a woman after she left a train in North Hollywood and an Easter Sunday 2017 attack on a woman, whom he offered a ride as she sat at a bus stop.
Jurors also heard from a San Diego woman whom Eden had been convicted of raping more than a decade earlier.
The appellate court panel turned down the defense’s claim that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of the 2006 rape, finding that the prior attack was “highly similar to his later assaults.”
The justices noted that Edem targeted women at transit stops in all three incidents, took them to isolated locations, plied them with marijuana and/or alcohol and “engaged in friendly conversation before demanding sex or oral copulation.”
Edem is serving an 81-year-to-life term in state prison.