As a teenager in Los Angeles using the name “DJ Tran,” Daniel James Bell twice lured unsuspecting Southern California Asian women to fake modeling jobs and threatened them with weapons before robbing and sexually assaulting them.
With that in mind, it might be difficult to believe Bell's latest tale. Sure, Bell now admits he entered the home of a 50-year-old Santa Ana woman (the mother of one of his friends) and left with valuables on May 30, 2002. But he maintains that Deputy District Attorney Keith C. Bogardus wrongly elevated the matter to a sex-crime case.
Here's part of the evidence the prosecutor considered: During the incident, the then-19-year-old grabbed the Asian American woman in her family room, twisted her arm behind her back and forced her into her bedroom on the other side of the house. He shoved her onto her bed, jumped on her, chest to chest, and repeatedly demanded that she open her legs for him. He then wept when she refused.
Here's Bell's lawyer: “What we do know is that during the course of this assault, there was nothing sexual said. He didn't tear at her clothes. He didn't touch her in any sexual fashion. Bogardus would like you to just throw that out the window and disregard it.”
Guess who an Orange County jury believed.
But now, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Bell, who got probation in his first case and 19 years in the second one, claims he's being punished too harshly in the third. Superior Court Judge John Conley dealt him a prison term of 15 years, 8 months for the Santa Ana conviction. It's not fair that Conley is making him serve that sentence after he completes the 19-year-term from the earlier case, argues Bell, now 25 and a resident of a state prison in Coalinga.
Believe it or not, the California Supreme Court is considering his complaint.
(Wednesdays at OCWeekly.com, discover the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)
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— R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly