Ali Achekzai's New Year's resolution may involve ways to self improve over the next 80 years.
That's how much prison time the so-called "international serial rapist" faces at his Jan. 27 sentencing in Santa Ana, following the 33-year-old's conviction Thursday of six felony counts including forcible rape and aggravated assault.
Achekzaki was wanted for sexually assaulting three women in Orange County and San Diego in 2002 and 2004 when he fled to Canada and later Austria, where he was accused of a separate 2009 rape in Salzburg. Austrian authorities later discovered DNA from that case matched samples from the California rapes.
The capture of the one-time Ladera Ranch resident, who occupied a spot on District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' 10 Most Wanted list, prompted the DA to remark at a January 2010 press conference, "This guy is the poster boy for a one-strike law." Achekzaki was extradited to California in August 2010.
After a night of clubbing in Laguna Beach on Oct. 26, 2002, Achekzai got into a limousine with two of his friends, a 24-year-old woman and her friend. On the long ride to one of the men's Costa home, the 24-year-old and her friend fell asleep. After the man was dropped off, Achekzai removed the pants of the 24-year-old and began sexually assaulting her. She awoke as Achekzai fondled her breasts, prompting her to scream and Achekzai to swear at her.
On Jan. 31, 2004, Achekzai met a 21-year-old woman at a Laguna Beach nightclub. Shortly after 2 a.m., she noticed he was following her as she drove up Jamboree Road toward Tustin. As she tried to drive away from him, he pulled up near her car and yelled at her to pull over because he had something important to tell her. She parked in a fast food restaurant lot, where Achekzai slipped into her car saying he had to warn her about another man at the club. She got out and ran away, with Achekzai giving chase, catching her and leading her back to the car, where he grabbed her by the neck, held her down, digitally penetrated her and forcibly raped her. He later drove off but left a semen sample behind.
Achekzai was with a male cousin at a San Diego nightclub on May 3, 2004, when he met two women. The party of four later moved on to Mount Soledad, where Achekzai got one of the women, who was 21, to go on a walk with him. Once alone, he grabbed her and pulled her to the ground as she struggled to get away. He would go on to repeatedly hit and punch her, threatening to kill her if she screamed. He then covered her mouth with his hand as he forcibly raped and sexually penetrated her in the bushes. He threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the rape.
Matching DNA from the rapes led to Achekzai to be charged with the sexual assaults in October 2004. But he had already fled to Canada by then. He changed his name several times and obtaining identification under the identities of Ali Achekzai, Ali Achekza, Ali Achelczia, Waleed Nawabi, Walid Nawabi, David Azizi, and Wali Ahmed Shoja. A national and citizen of Afghanistan, he is suspected to have lived in Afghanistan, Germany, San Francisco, Canada, Austria, and England.
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Local authorities worked with the international police agency INTERPOL to make his DNA evidence available worldwide. He was arrested under the name Wali Ahmed Shoja on April 24, 2009, in Austria, where a DNA sample was taken. That rape case was later dismissed. But when the DNA in Austria matched the samples from California, he was arrested again on Jan. 26, 2010, at the Hotel Unterbrunn in the Austrian town of Neukirchen am Grossvenediger.