In Sept. 2009, Gilberto Cruz Silva couldn't convince any women to freely give him sex and so he drove in the middle of the night from his Corona home to find prostitutes on Santa Ana's notorious Harbor Boulevard.
Silva enticed a prostitute into his van, drove to a nearby mobile home park and put a 12-inch butcher knife to her neck.
After forced sex, the semi-nude woman claimed she had to urinate but instead ran away in horror. Emergency room doctors later found a knife cut to her neck and severely chaffed genitalia.
But Silva wasn't done. Two hours later, he got a second Harbor Boulevard prostitute to enter his van and tried the same knife routine. His hooker tried to immediate flee, got slammed down inside the van and managed to gain control of his knife. During a struggle, she stabbed him in the arm and in the back. She escaped and Silva drove away.
Police eventually tracked Silva to his Riverside County house and found him bleeding profusely on his back patio.
A 2010 Orange County jury convicted him of rape and Superior Court Judge Lance Jensen sentenced him to prison.
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Silva appealed, saying in part that Jensen robbed him of a fair trial by not seriously considering his request to change criminal defense lawyers.
This month, a California Court of Appeal agreed and, while expressing support for the strength of the prosecution's evidence, ordered Jensen to conduct a formal hearing on the topic.
Upshot: Silva, who is serving a 38 years to life sentence, will soon get a temporary break from California State Prison at Lancaster to attend his upcoming hearing in Orange County.