Monday, December 07, 2009

Defendant faces trial in rape of 94-year-old Palo Alto woman - San Jose Mercury News

Defendant faces trial in rape of 94-year-old Palo Alto woman - San Jose Mercury News: "The man charged with raping a 94-year-old woman at her Palo Alto nursing home in 2002 appears headed for a jury trial.
In a five-hour preliminary hearing Friday, expert witnesses testified that compelling DNA evidence linked 42-year-old Roberto Recendes to the crime, and his former girlfriend identified a necklace found at the scene as belonging to him.
It was enough to convince Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Thang Nguyen Barrett that there is probable cause to hold Recendes on charges that could send him to prison for life if he's convicted. But defense attorney Carl Beatty said he believes Friday's testimony also exposed some holes in the prosecution's story.
The case gained national notoriety after Palo Alto police arrested and extracted a confession from a suspect in 2002, only to see him exonerated by DNA evidence. Jorge Hernandez, a Gunn High School graduate who was 18 at the time, was released after three months in jail.
The case appeared as though it might go unsolved; the victim said she never knew her attacker's identity. But in 2004, Recendes was convicted on domestic violence charges in Sunnyvale, and a DNA sample was taken before he was deported to Mexico. Authorities discovered the match two years later and eventually tracked him down, and he was extradited to the United States in 2008.
Meanwhile, the victim died in 2006, according to staff at the Palo Alto Commons nursing home."

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