Coto de Caza residential weed picker Raul Salvador Marin wanted to tell the petite 20-year-old at a June 2004 Trabuco Canyon patio party that she was "a really pretty girl, white, young," but he didn't speak English and she didn't speak Spanish. The woman wasn't interested in Marin anyway. She spurned his attempts to dance with her, to touch her and, after he chased her 100 yards down a dark, desolate path, to have sex with her.
Later, veteran Orange County Sheriff's Department detective Daniel Salcedo asked Marin why he'd beaten the woman, dragged her body 20 feet into waist-high weeds, and then repeatedly smashed the woman's face and skull with a 20-pound rock.
"Because she pushed me two times," replied the 31-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico. And besides, he said in Spanish, he wanted "to have relations" with her.
According to law-enforcement reports, Marin strangled the woman with both hands before yanking her shorts and underwear to her ankles, fondling her vagina, and attempting intercourse. (His erection failed, he insists.) When he finished, he walked home and threw his bloody T-shirt in a Dumpster before going to sleep.
The 5-foot-3, 120-pound woman was found partially nude, face-down and near death the next morning. Her bloody head had swollen to the size of a large watermelon. She was beaten so severely that both eyes had swollen shut and her race couldn't be determined. She had a massive cranial fracture, a collapsed lung, hypothermia, a broken jaw, numerous lacerations--some so serious they required staples to close--deep bruising around her neck, facial trauma, a missing chunk of an ear, dirt lodged in her throat and a stick protruding from her anus. She spent more than a week in a coma, but eventually emerged, albeit with permanent brain damage.
"Why did you do this?" Salcedo asked Marin after reading him his Miranda warning in Spanish.
"If I tell you, you wouldn't believe me," Marin said.
Salcedo waited patiently for the answer.
"I never had drank [beer and wine] and smoked marijuana [and snorted cocaine] at one time before," he said.
A jury convicted Marin of attempted murder and multiple sexual-assault-related felonies. Superior Court Judge David A. Hoffer sentenced him to a prison term of 46 years to life, plus an additional life term to be served consecutively. But Marin cried foul to the court of appeal based in Santa Ana. Among his complaints: He shouldn't have also been charged and convicted of kidnapping, and his punishment was unfair.
In late August, a three-justice panel headed by William W. Bedsworth told Marin his major claims lacked merit and noted that his crimes showed "unimaginable cruelty and depravity."
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Thankfully, the chance that Marin will ever walk free again is now almost certainly zero.
(Wednesdays at OCWeekly.com, discover the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)
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-- R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly