|For Immediate Release
September 16th, 2003
|Contact:||Susan Kang Schroeder
Deputy District Attorney
(714) 347-8408 (O)
(714) 292-2718 (C)
SANTA ANA MAN CHARGED WITH SERIAL RAPES AND ROBBERIES OF 12 WOMEN AND 11 MEN IN FOUR ORANGE COUNTY PARKS
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s office announces the filing of a 69-count complaint against Francisco Rene A. Hernandez, 35, of Santa Ana. Hernandez is charged with a series of robberies, rapes, kidnappings, and assaults with deadly weapons occurring between 1997 and August 2003 at several parks located in Santa Ana and Fountain Valley.
Hernandez is in custody being held without bail. Hernandez made his first court appearance today. His arraignment was continued to October 3, 2003. If convicted, Hernandez faces a maximum sentence of multiple life terms.
The defendant is accused of approaching the victims on foot or on a bicycle wearing a ski mask and armed with a handgun and knife, robbing the couples of their money and jewelry, and raping several of the females. The defendant is primarily accused of targeting couples sitting in parked vehicles or walking through the park.
Hernandez was arrested on Friday, September 12, 2003, at 10:00 P.M. when Santa Ana Police patrolled Jerome Park in search of the suspect. Two of the rapes are alleged to have occurred at this park, with the most recent occurring in August 2003.
“The defendant is charged with robbing and raping his victims in parks – a place designed for people to enjoy the good life in Orange County. This Office will see to it that justice done, not only for the twelve women and eleven men who were personally attacked, but for the citizens who lost the use of the park due to the fear that these crimes caused,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
The vigorous prosecution of violent sexual predators continues to be one of the main goals of the Orange County District Attorney’s office. Last October, the Office successfully convicted another violent, serial sexual predator, Eduardo Guzman, a man who terrorized Santa Ana women for four months in the summer of 2000. Guzman will not be eligible for parole for 92 years or when he is 116 years old.
The Santa Ana Police Department led this successful investigation and apprehension of the defendant. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department conducted the forensic analysis.