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Alleged Ringleader Convicted In 2008 Gang Rape Of Lesbian Woman In Richmond

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Humberto Salvador (Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office)

Humberto Salvador (Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office)

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MARTINEZ (CBS SF) - A jury Wednesday found the alleged ringleader in a brutal 2008 gang rape of a lesbian woman in Richmond guilty of kidnapping and gang rape in addition to committing a hate crime and gang-related enhancements.

Humberto Salvador, a 36-year-old Sureno gang member, was convicted on charges of forcible rape while acting in concert, forcible oral copulation in concert, kidnapping for sexual purposes, sodomy, street terrorism, carjacking and robbery.

He faces life in prison.

The verdicts for 15 felony charges and a slew of special allegations were read in a Martinez courtroom Wednesday. Prosecutors said Salvador raped the victim, kidnapped her in her own car, taunted her about her sexual orientation and led other defendants to sexually assault the woman.

The jury found true allegations that the defendant committed some of the crimes due to the gender or perceived sexual orientation of the victim, who is openly lesbian.

In addition, jurors found true that he inflicted great bodily injury on the victim and committed the crimes in affiliation with the Sureño gang.

Jurors deliberated for more than seven hours after the trial wrapped up on Tuesday.

A few of the jurors, who declined to give their names, commented Wednesday on the victim’s brave decision to face her attacker in court and relive the horror she endured during the attack.

During her emotional testimony earlier this month, the victim, referred to in court as Jane Doe, recalled how Salvador beat, raped and kidnapped her in Richmond the night of Dec. 13, 2008.

The victim testified that she had just returned home from a shift at an El Sobrante pizzeria where she worked and parked her car across the street from her apartment. She walking toward the building when Salvador approached and demanded she hand over her valuables.

The woman complied, hoping the robbery would be the end of the encounter, but next, Salvador hit her in the head with a flashlight and ordered her to undress as blood gushed from her head — the beginning of a 30-minute attack in which she was kidnapped in her car and repeatedly sexually assaulted, according to her testimony and Deputy District Attorney
Melissa Smith.

Throughout the attack, Salvador also taunted the victim about her sexual orientation, asking her repeatedly if she liked men, the victim testified.

The night of the attack, her car was adorned with rainbow stickers symbolizing LGBT pride; she also wore a rainbow belt before Salvador forced her to remove it, according to the victim’s testimony and evidence shown in court.

At Salvador’s direction, two other defendants, then 15 and 16 years old, forced her to orally copulate them and three other defendants took part in the carjacking, according to prosecutors and the victim’s testimony.

One of those defendants, 20-year-old Darrell Hodges, was sentenced earlier this month to a 24-year prison sentence for his role in the crime.

Another defendant, Robert Ortiz, 20, is awaiting trial later this month.

Josue Gonzalez, 26, was the only defendant who prosecutors say did not sexually assault the victim.

Gonzalez testified against Salvador during the trial and is awaiting sentencing on carjacking and robbery convictions in connection with the case.

In addition to witness accounts, the jury also heard about DNA evidence of Salvador’s role in the attack.

Salvador’s defense attorney, Linda Fullerton, declined to comment on the verdict Wednesday.

During the trial, she argued that while it was clear the victim was brutally raped, there was insufficient evidence to show which defendants committed which crimes. She also argued that her client did not commit a hate crime, since the attack was well underway when he allegedly commented on her sexual orientation.

(© Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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