DNA clinches assault case

first_img“The sentence he will receive on the other counts will effectively be life without the possibility of parole,” Deputy District Attorney Kelly Cromer said. “He is a sexual predator, so at least now he will be taken off the street.” The jury deliberated 31/2 days total before reaching the verdict. Sentencing is scheduled for April 20. Smith testified at the trial, denied the charges and said statements obtained by investigators were coerced, Cromer said. “It appeared to me that 10 of the jurors did not buy the identifications, did not buy the alleged confession, but that they were persuaded by DNA,” said Smith’s attorney, Dale Atherton. The 13 counts on which the jury leaned toward acquittal but deadlocked had to do with a woman and her 4-year-old son. There was no DNA evidence in that incident, Atherton said. LANCASTER – A state prison inmate can expect to remain locked up for life after being convicted Monday of more charges in a series of violent sexual assaults in Lancaster in 2003, prosecutors said. An Antelope Valley Superior Court jury came back with guilty verdicts on 21 counts against Jacob Renald Smith but deadlocked 10-2 in favor of not guilty on 13 counts and 11-1 for guilty on an attempted-murder charge. The jury in a partial verdict announced Thursday had convicted Smith of 17 counts and acquitted him of one count of second-degree robbery. Prosecutors said they will not retry Smith on the hung counts. Smith, 23, was linked to the crimes through DNA evidence and by victims who identified him as their assailant. DNA evidence against Smith included samples found on a white plastic cup from which the attacker drank water and a bandanna that he wore and used to tie a victim’s hands, the prosecutor said in opening statements. Smith, imprisoned since September 2004 for a San Bernardino County burglary, was later linked to the Lancaster sex crimes under a state law that requires all felons to submit DNA to a database that can be accessed by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. Smith faced charges that he assaulted four women, shot a fifth and was defied by a sixth who managed to call 911 on her cell phone despite threats to kill her and her child. The six incidents involved assaults, sex crimes – including some against women who had small children with them – and a home-invasion robbery in which a woman in her 60s was shot in the chest. Interviewed by detectives in June 2005, Smith at first denied any involvement, but then changed his story after being told that DNA evidence linked him to the crimes, prosecutors said. In one incident, Smith said he and a woman simply got into a scuffle. Smith claimed “it was a case of sex for drugs” with four of the victims. In the home-invasion robbery, Smith claimed the gun went off accidentally, Cromer said. Some of the assaults occurred in daylight in public places – including a park, a coin laundry and a parking lot – within a 11/2-mile radius of central Lancaster, near where Smith lived in early 2003, officials said. All but two of the six attacks occurred before late March in 2003, when sheriff’s officials released a composite drawing of the man who had sexually assaulted two women and tried to assault a third. Two days after the drawing was released, a man fitting the rapist’s description bicycled up to the rural east Lancaster home of an elderly mother and her daughter and asked for a drink of water and to use their phone. He shot the younger woman and robbed the home. Then the attacks stopped until August, when a woman walking near Lancaster City Park was forced down the side of an Antelope Valley Freeway overpass and assaulted. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more