A state appellate court panel day upheld a former Monterey Park resident’s conviction for raping two women he met while working at a cafe in Alhambra.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that Andrew Van Bui should have been tried separately for the attacks in August 2013 on a 26-year-old woman and the following month on a 22-year-old woman.
“Bui contends the trial court abused his discretion in declining to grant his motion to sever the four counts relating to one victim from the three counts relating to the other victim because the evidence demonstrated the first victim ingested a drink Bui made for her and became intoxicated while the second victim ingested very little of the drink Bui made for her and did not become intoxicated,” the appellate panel’s 18-page ruling says. “Bui argues the evidence of him drugging the first victim was prejudicial on the counts involving the second victim.”
The appellate court justices found that the “probative value of the evidence is high given the similarity between the encounters,” including the two women becoming acquainted with Bui while they were studying at the cafe, exchanging text messages with him and going to dinner and then his home to watch a movie. The panel ruled that Bui “cannot demonstrate that the trial court (judge) abused his discretion” in denying the defense motion.
Bui, now 28, was convicted last year of three counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of forcible rape and one count each of rape by use of drugs and forcible oral copulation. He was sentenced to 30 years to life in state prison.
— City News Service
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