OC Jury Finds Rapist, 14, Guilty

An Anaheim teenager tried as an adult for a shocking kidnapping-robbery-forced-sodomy crime spree that victimized four 12 and 13-year-old boys in 2004 was convicted this afternoon of committing 11 felonies.

Jose Ignacio Avina, just 14 years old at the time of the crimes near Ball Middle School, stole glances at the jury as a court clerk clerk took nearly 30 minutes to read all of the guilty verdicts and special findings of violence attached to each crime. A panel of two men and 10 woman spent about half a day for deliberations. Jurors quickly left the courthouse without talking to either Deputy District Attorney Kal Kaliban or public defender Doloris Yost.

After Avina waived his right to speedy sentencing, Superior Court Judge James A. Stotler set the punishment hearing for November 30. The defense is likely to request that Avina, who recently celebrated his 17th birthday in jail, be treated as a juvenile at this stage. If Stotler agrees, the convicted rapist could exit the California Youth Authority when he reaches 25 in eight years. But if Avina is sentenced as an adult, he faces a minimun of 25 years-to-life in prison.

After today's proceedings, Yost consoled Avina in court holding tank and, outside the courtroom, Kaliban said justice was served.

"If you take away his age, this guy is as scary as anybody I've ever dealt with," said Kaliban, who has dealt with a long, nasty series of sex criminals over the years. "He's a danger to the community."

Though clearly nervous, three of the four victims testified that Avina robbed and raped them anally, orally or both. One boy--the last intended victim--successfully escaped before a likely sexual assault. A medical rape specialist in the case told jurors about the sperm she found in the victim's rectums as well as anal and rectal tears consistent with blunt force trauma.

Avina chose not to testify in his own defense. None of his family or friends bothered to attend a single hearing or day of trial for three years. Stotler ordered him to remain in juvenile lockup without bail until sentencing because of the "seriousness of the charges."

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