Imagine you're a mother and wife who wakes up in bed at 5 one morning because you hear heavy breathing.
With your eyes still closed, you think that the person standing over you is your frisky husband.
But it's not.
The person at your bed's edge staring at you is naked except for his socks.
It's one of your daughter's ex-high school boyfriends.
This isn't a fictitious scene from the newest episode of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
For this Anaheim woman, the real intruder is 25 years old, high out of his mind on cocaine and booze, and holding a stainless steel frying pan in a fist.
Erik John Freund had entered her home not far from Disneyland, walked quietly by her husband asleep on the den sofa, entered her bedroom and—well, this is where the story turns Dana Rohrabacher kinky—stripped before he began trying on several of her bras and panties.
But Freund's heavy breathing had inadvertently awakened the woman and he responded to her what-the-hell-are-you-doing inquiry by slugging her in the face with the frying pan before running out of the house and down the street.
He'd left his clothes and Pittsburgh Pirate baseball cap on her bedroom floor.
Police forensic specialists had no problem extracting Freund's DNA from the items and arresting him.
A defense lawyer asserted that Freund liked to wear women's lingerie when he watched pornographic videos and got high on cocaine and booze. The combination gave him a sensational sexual rush. He'd entered the victim's home merely to steal her clothing and cosmetics, the lawyer said.
But Orange County prosecutors argued that this defendant intended to forcefully rape the woman and had used a deadly weapon as a crime tool. A May 2010 jury agreed. Orange County Superior Court Judge Lance Jensen then sentenced Freund to a long trip to a California prison.
Freund appealed, claiming there was insufficient proof of an attempted rape.
If he was guilty of anything, it was transvestic fetishism, drug abuse and thievery, he argued.
He assured everyone that he'd entered the woman's house to steal items so that he could buy more cocaine.
This month, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana considered and rejected his complaints. A three-justice panel said the jury's decision had been reasonable based on the evidence.
“He was inside her bedroom, uninvited, at 5 a.m., he locked the bedroom door behind him, stripped off his clothing, and appeared before [the woman] in her bed before she woke up,” Justice Eileen C. Moore wrote in the 26-page opinion. “These facts are consistent with an intent to rape.”
Upshot: Freund, now 33, will continue to serve his 14-year prison sentence.
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.