In a ruling released Friday, a state appeals court panel upheld a Monrovia man’s conviction for attacks on four women — three of whom were sexually assaulted.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Jason Chung Chien Yu’s claim that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction on three counts of sodomy by use of force, two counts each of kidnapping to commit rape, assault to commit rape and false imprisonment, and one count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and making criminal threats.
In a 38-page ruling, the appellate court justices found that the prosecution “presented substantial evidence to establish Yu’s guilt.”
The panel also turned down the defense’s contention that the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to present evidence about an uncharged attack on another woman in 2015.
“Three of the four victims in the charged offenses alleged that Yu completed the same crimes against them, which was highly probative of Yu’s propensity for such acts,” the panel noted.
Yu kidnapped one victim in 2012 with the intent of raping her, assaulted and sodomized two women in 2016 and kidnapped and sexually assaulted another woman in early 2017, according to Deputy District Attorney Scott Yang.
The attacks occurred in El Monte, Monterey Park, South Los Angeles and Rosemead, according to the prosecutor. The victims ranged in age from 22 to 60.
One of the victims — who accepted a ride from Yu in 2012 because she was late to work — described herself as “naive” at the time and what had happened as a “nightmare.”
“I lost weight, I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to go out …,” she told the judge during an emotional victim impact statement.
Yu’s trial attorney, Adam M. Koppekin, asked the judge to show leniency to Yu, arguing that his client’s conduct was “fueled by a methamphetamine addiction” that lowered his inhibitions.
In their ruling, the appellate court justices noted that Yu told investigators that he had been baptized 15 years earlier and couldn’t have sex before marriage because it was against the Bible and that he prayed away sexual urges.
He denied recognizing photos of any of the women, but acknowledged he had taken a woman to a motel for a “business transaction” but told investigators that they didn’t have sex because of his religion and that he would not do anything with a woman unless she was willing, according to the appellate court panel’s opinion.
Yu — who had a prior drug conviction — was linked by a DNA hit to DNA from two of the sexual assaults, Yang said.
He was arrested in May 2017 at his workplace in Irwindale by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Bureau.
Yu was sentenced in June 2019 to 88 years to life in state prison, along with two additional life prison terms.