See update No. 3 at end of this post for details on sentencing and a disturbing testimony that undercut Anthony Nicholas Orban's Zoloft defense.
See update No. 2 at end of this post for details on the jury determining Orban was sane when he kidnapped and raped a waitress at the nose of his Westminster Police service firearm in 2010.
See update No. 1 at end of this post for details on guilty verdict.
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 12, 4:32 P.M.: Anthony Nicholas Orban, who was fired as a Westminster Police detective after being charged with kidnapping and raping a single mom abducted as she left her waitress job, has one fewer juror to convince he's innocent by reason of insanity.
That's the male juror a judge dismissed today because the fellow wanted to thank Orban for his service in the U.S. Marines.
This all played out very quickly today at West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga, where closing arguments in the case against Irvine resident Orban concluded this morning and the jury went into deliberations before noon.
This afternoon, Judge Shahla Sabet appointed an alternate juror to replace the male juror who was deemed too emotional to make an unbiased decision. The jury has been instructed to find Orban innocent or guilty of the crimes. If he is found guilty, the same jury must consider whether he was insane at the time of the crimes, as his defense contends.
The stakes are high: if Orban is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he would likely receive an
indefinite sentence in a
state mental hospital as opposed to a life term in state prison. That
conceivably means he could later be released from the hospital following
The young mother had just left her job at the Dave & Buster's at the Ontario Mills
shopping mall the afternoon of April 3, 2010, when she was grabbed by a stranger who
forced her into her SUV, drove her to the lot of a Fontana business
and choked her,
repeatedly slapped her, punched her, rubbed her face with a handgun,
gagged her with the gun barrel, twice threatened to kill her, ordered
her at gunpoint to give him oral sex and photographed her with a cell
phone while raping her.
A text message the attacker sent with
the photo read, “Look what I'm doing.” But then he got a call back on his cell phone that seemed to snap him out of the ultraviolence and
cause him to apologize profusely to his victim.
After he got
dressed and left the vehicle, she bolted out and asked an employee at a
nearby business to call the police. When cops arrived at the scene,
they did not find the attacker but they did find Orban's Westminster Police service
revolver in the SUV. His arrest swiftly followed.
It turned out Orban had been drinking in Ontario that day with Jeffrey Thomas Jelinek, a Chino state prison guard who pleaded guilty to his participation in the crimes and agreed to testify against Orban in exchange for a sentence of five years and four months in prison.
Shortly after charges were filed, Orban's attorney James Blatt did not dispute his client abducted and raped the then-25-year-old waitress, claiming the detective suffered a “psychotic break from reality”
brought on by being over-prescribed the anti-depressant Zoloft and the
anti-seizure medication Neurontin.
This “Zoloft defense” foreshadowed a defense at trial claiming Orban is an honorable member of the community battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he has suffered since serving as a combat Marine in Iraq.
San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus has asked jurors to focus solely on the facts of the case, which finds Orban charged with eight felony counts.
UPDATE NO. 1, JUNE 13, 1:37 P.M.: The “Zoloft Defense”–which is apparently the new millennium version of the “Twinkie Defense”–did not work for Anthony Nicholas Orban, at least during the first phase of his jury trial, as the former Westminster Police detective was found guilty this morning of kidnapping and raping a waitress at gunpoint.
The San Bernardino County jury now gets to decide whether the Irvine resident was sane at the time of the April 2010 attack. That phase of the trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday.
The defense claims Orban was over-prescribed Zoloft to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he has suffered while serving as a combat Marine in Iraq, and that he sustained a psychotic break that effectively rendered him unconscious when he kidnapped the woman in the Ontario Mills
mall parking lot and raped her at a Fontana self-storage lot.
He was off-duty from his OC cop job at the time, but Orban stuck his service revolver in the waitress' mouth while forcibly raping her in her SUV.
UPDATE NO. 2, JUNE 26, 12:33 P.M.: Despite Anthony Nicholas Orban's
“Zoloft Defense,” a San Bernardino County jury today found the Irvine resident was sane when he kidnapped and raped a waitress at the nose of the ex-Westminster Police detective's service firearm.
Orban's attorney argued that his client could not be held responsible
for his actions because the antidepressant Zoloft he was prescribed to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by his Iraq War service had rendered him
effectively unconscious at the time of the attack.
Details on sentencing to follow . . .
UPDATE NO. 3, JUNE 26, 2:48 P.M.: Anthony Nicholas Orban is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 9, when he could be sent away to state prison for life.
Meanwhile, San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus revealed why she and, by extension, the jury did not buy the former Westminster Police detective's Zoloft defense.
Orban had been drinking with his prison guard pal Jeff Jelinek before the cop kidnapped a waitress who'd just ended her shift at an Ontario Mills mall restaurant and took her at gunpoint to a Fontana self-storage lot where he brutally raped her.
Jelinek, who cut a plea deal to accessory charges in exchange for testifying, told the jury Orban had told him he would get
turned on by reading rape reports.
Ploghaus says she did not believe temporary insanity brought on by the over-prescription of Zoloft caused Orban to go temporarily insane and on a black-out rampage. Alcohol and his own kinky desires were the cause, according to Ploghaus, who says in an Associated Press report, “He had
this whole other side of him that nobody saw.”