|For Immediate Release
March 15, 2007
NEIGHBOR CONVICTED OF RAPING TWO WOMEN WHO LIVED IN HIS COSTA MESA APARTMENT COMPLEX
SANTA ANA – A rapist was found guilty today of sexually assaulting two women one year apart in a Costa Mesa apartment complex. Jose Fernandez Lopez, 34, Costa Mesa, was convicted of two counts of first degree residential burglary, two counts of sodomy by force, sexual penetration by a foreign object by force, and forcible rape. The jury also found true sentencing enhancement allegations for committing the sexual assaults during the commission of a burglary and for committing the crimes against more than one victim. Lopez faces a maximum sentence of 125 years to life in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, April 20, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On September 12, 2004, Jane Doe #1, 45, who lived alone in an apartment in Costa Mesa at the Newport Village Apartments, was laying on her couch. Early in the morning, Lopez, wearing a ski mask, broke into the apartment by pushing open a screen to a window that had been left open. The defendant covered the victim’s mouth and forcibly sodomized her. He then forced Jane Doe #1 to go into the bathroom and turn off the lights, and fled the scene.
On May 8, 2005, 64-year-old Jane Doe #2, who also lived alone in the Newport Village Apartments, was sleeping on her bed. Lopez broke in to the apartment through an open sliding glass door. The defendant pinned down the victim, pulled off her sweat pants, and forcibly raped her. The victim was able to get away and crawled toward the sliding glass door. Jane Doe #2 was saying the Lord’s Prayer as she tried to escape, but Lopez caught her and forcibly sodomized her as she prayed out loud. He then forced her into the bathroom and made her turn off the lights, as he had done with Jane Doe #1, and then fled the scene.
Noticing the similarities in the cases, the Costa Mesa Police Department compared semen samples taken in both cases and determined that the sex crimes were committed by the same defendant. Officers went door to door in the complex looking for witnesses and taking voluntary DNA samples. Lopez’s DNA sample matched the DNA from the attacks on Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.