A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld the conviction of a former ride-share driver for raping an intoxicated female passenger in a North Hollywood motel room.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal found there was no evidence that Alaric Francis Spence reasonably believed the woman “had the capacity to consent.”
Surveillance video showed Spence carrying the woman into a motel room, where DNA belonging to Spence was collected from two used condoms found inside a trash can, according to the appellate court panel’s 15-page ruling.
The woman had been picked up in downtown Los Angeles, and her phone’s Uber data showed she had requested a ride to her boyfriend’s apartment and that the trip had ended there, according to the ruling.
Spence — whom police said had been an Uber driver for six months — was arrested the day after the attack.
He was convicted in November 2019 of raping an intoxicated woman involving the June 23, 2017, attack.
Jurors acquitted him of two other counts — kidnapping for rape and rape of an unconscious person.
“I’ve tried to process what happened to my body over time,” the victim wrote in a statement that was read in court by a Los Angeles Police Department detective at Spence’s sentencing in January 2020.
“Every night, I cried myself to sleep and used frozen spoons that I kept in my freezer to put on my swollen eyes in the morning.”
Addressing the defendant directly, the victim wrote, “I forgive you, only so I can move on with my life.”
The victim’s mother said she needed to be in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom to face her daughter’s assailant and to let him “know that what he has done is not right.”
“I’ve worked so hard to raise (my daughters) and keep them safe, and you took all of that away in one night,” the woman said. “May God forgive you.”
The defendant countered that he had been “falsely accused” and that he had “no faith” in the court system.
Spence was sentenced to six years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.