Perhaps they will sentence war veteran-turned-Westminster cop-turned-brutal rapist Anthony Nicholas Orban over his dead body. Literally. The detective who kidnapped and raped a waitress at gunpoint in April 2010 and was convicted and hung himself in jail in October 2012 could--over the objections of his defense attorney--be sentenced this summer.
"I can't comprehend how you can go ahead and sentence someone who is dead," his attorney James Blatt reportedly said in court.
Blatt says he does not want Judge Shahla S. Shabet to dismiss the case but to simply allow his late client's conviction to stand and then take the matter off the court calendar, according to an Associated Press report on Friday's West Valley Superior Court hearing in Rancho Cucamonga.
But Shabet said in open court, "Our system needs to close this case either through dismissal or sentencing." She then set a July 2 hearing to allow Blatt the time to find similar cases that were resolved in any other way, otherwise sentencing will commence.
The decision had Blatt shaking his head outside the courtroom.
"There is no one to sentence, there is no one to order restitution to," he reportedly said. "... This is not in the best interest of the dignity of the court system."
Orban's victim, identified by the media only as Erinn, would like to see the dead detective sentenced, although she wishes it would have been done already.
"I'm a little disappointed that it got postponed again," she reportedly said after the hearing. "I really just want it to be over. "
The detective had been drinking with a Chino prison guard pal all day April 3, 2010, before the cop kidnapped Erinn, a waitress who'd just ended her shift at Dave and Buster's, an Ontario Mills mall restaurant. Pointing his service weapon at Erinn and leaving his male friend behind, Orban took the single mom to a Fontana self-storage lot where he brutally raped her. He later fled but left the Westminster Police Department gun he'd just shoved into Erinn's mouth behind. That led to Orban being identified and arrested. He was later kicked off the force.
The defense tried to argue Orban suffered temporary insanity due to a cocktail of drugs he was prescribed, including Zoloft and Neurontin, to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by Marine combat duty in Iraq before he returned to the U.S. The jury did not buy it.
The 32-year-old was due in West Valley Superior Court for a 1:30 p.m. Oct. 26, 2012, hearing tied to defense allegations of jury tampering. But San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies had found Orban hanging in his cell that morning, and the coroner later confirmed it was suicide.
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Shabet allowed that day's hearing to continue so Erinn could deliver her victim's impact statement, something the sentencing delays had prevented.
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