Juan Humberto Avila Gets 363 Years to Life for Rape of 16-Year-Old Girl and Past Violence
Juan Humberto Avila is going to have a long time to consider his wayward ways in state prison: 363 years to life.
Orange County Superior Court Judge W. Michael Hayes handed down that lengthy sentence for the Santa Ana 36-year-old's rape of a 16-year-old girl walking home from a fast-food restaurant five years ago.
After hanging out with friends at an In-N-Out Burger in Santa Ana, the girl was walking home around 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 21, 2008, when Avila jumped out from behind a sign, punched her several times and dragged her across the street, where he threatened to stab her to death if she screamed for help.
Behind large storage containers at the rear of a parking lot, Avila repeatedly raped the girl and forced her to perform oral sex on him over the course of more than two hours. Avila then took her bank card and ran away.
The case went unsolved until December 2010, when the FBI contacted Santa Ana Police to inform Avila's DNA from a federal weapons violation case in Arizona matched evidence from the rape case.
The defense argued at trial that Avila had consensual sex with the girl earlier in the day and that someone else must have beaten her up later, but the victim "maintained all along he was a complete stranger," Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke explained to City News Service.
Avila was convicted on March 4 of sexual penetration by one count each of a foreign object by force, dissuading a witness by threat or force, as well as two counts each of forcible rape, sodomy by force and forcible oral copulation. Sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury and kidnapping were found true.
Judge Hayes essentially doubled Avila's sentence Friday due to a prior strike from a 1997 conviction for participating in a criminal street gang, Burke said.
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