An East Palo Alto man accused of kidnapping and twice raping his ex-girlfriend last year was found guilty of three out of four felony charges by a San Mateo County jury Thursday (Dec. 29).
After a day and half of deliberations, the jury of nine men and three women found Jose Estrada Ramirez, 29, guilty of one count of kidnapping and two counts of rape by force in connection with the 26-hour abduction, which began in Redwood City on July 5, 2010.
Ramirez was acquitted of a fourth felony charge, kidnapping with intent to rape. The jury also found true two special allegations that the rapes were committed during the kidnapping. Ramirez, dressed in a gray suit and dark tie, showed no emotion when the verdicts were read.
On the day of the crime, a woman saw Ramirez grabbing his ex-girlfriend -- who was referred to throughout the weeklong trial as Maria Doe -- and forcing her into a truck outside a party she was attending with her children. The woman called her brothers, who flagged down police to report the crime, Deputy District Attorney Shin-Mee Chang said.
The victim was driven to Pleasanton, where Ramirez pulled her from the truck and raped her, Chang said. She was then driven into Yolo County, where she was raped a second time inside Ramirez' truck. The two were picked up by police at about 4 p.m. the following day after the defendant's truck ran out of gas.
The victim immediately told the officers she had been raped, and an investigating nurse testified that the bruises the victim had on her arms were consistent with being held down. She also had cuts and abrasions on her arms and legs, and grass stuck in her hair.
The defense had argued that the sex between Ramirez and the victim was consensual, and that she had plotted to frame him because she was jealous of his new girlfriend. Ramirez, who remains in custody on $500,000 bail, could face life in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 30.