For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN SENTENCED TO 363 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR COLD CASE RAPE OF 16-YEAR-OLD GIRL AFTER BEING LINKED THROUGH DNA
SANTA ANA — A man was sentenced today to 363 years to life in state prison for the cold case rape of a 16-year-old girl who was walking home from In-N-Out Burger in Santa Ana. Juan Humberto Avila, 36, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury March 4, 2013, to one felony count each of sexual penetration by foreign object by force, dissuading a witness by force or threat, and two felony counts each of forcible rape, sodomy by force, and forcible oral copulation with sentencing enhancement allegations for inflicting great bodily injury and kidnapping. Avila has a prior strike from a 1997 conviction for participating in a criminal street gang.
At approximately 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 21, 2008, 16-year-old Jane Doe was walking home after meeting friends at an In-N-Out Burger located in Santa Ana. Avila hid behind a sign and jumped out at the victim, who began screaming. Avila punched Jane Doe several times, dragged her across the street, and threatened to stab her to death if she screamed.
Avila forced Jane Doe behind large storage containers at the rear of a parking lot. He threatened the victim that he would stab her if she did not take off her pants. Avila repeatedly raped and sodomized Jane Doe and forced her to orally copulate him. Avila threatened the victim’s life several times throughout the sexual assault. After the attack, Avila stole Jane Doe’s bank card, ordered her to stay on the ground and count to 100, and fled from the scene.
Jane Doe ran home and reported the assault to the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD). DNA was recovered from the victim during a subsequent medical rape examination. SAPD investigated the case but it went cold. Avila was linked to the rape following a DNA match from a previous federal weapons possession conviction in Arizona.
Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.