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Blanks pleads not guilty to rape, attempted murder

Santa Clara man facing slew of charges related to violent attack in Palo Alto

Lionel Blanks Jr., 36, who is accused of the rape, kidnapping and attempted murder of a woman in Palo Alto on May 22, pleaded not guilty to all charges in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose Thursday (Nov. 4) morning.

A Santa Clara resident, Blanks is is charged with attacking a woman who had parked her car on El Camino Real in Palo Alto. The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has described the attack as particularly violent and brutal.

The victim, who is identified in court as "Jane Doe," had parked her Mercedes Benz SUV under a bright streetlight on El Camino a short distance from Serra Street, according to a police report.

She told police that she climbed into her passenger seat where she went to sleep. She awoke to feeling cold air and glass pieces shattered on the seat. Blanks allegedly smashed her car window and grabbed her by the throat, she said.

The woman was dragged from the vehicle, beaten on the ground, bound and driven in her vehicle to Westwood Elementary School in Santa Clara, where she was raped and strangled, according to court documents. She survived the attack, according to the report.

Blanks was formally charged in May with rape by force, penetration with a foreign object, kidnapping, attempted murder, carjacking, second-degree robbery and threats to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury.

He faces a 50-years-to-life sentence plus 12 years and 4 months if convicted, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Erin West has said.

Blanks resided with his girlfriend and children on North Winchester Boulevard less than a mile from the school, according to a police report. He remains in Santa Clara County Jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14.

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