Accused rapist presents his side of the story |

Accused rapist presents his side of the story

Gregory Crofton

Edwin Carlevato, a 47-year-old man accused of rape, testified Monday in El Dorado Superior Court he had a pay-for-sex relationship with one alleged victim and consensual sex with another.

About 10 pounds heavier than he was when he was arrested in November 1999, and with a goatee that was a mustache, Carlevato took the stand wearing a blue blazer, tie and gray slacks.

As he testified confidently in a warm, friendly voice, his black and gray hair was combed straight back and his eyes were naturally shadowed.

When defense lawyer Donald Heape showed items the police seized from the defendant’s car – a ski mask, filet knife, boot laces and a gun – Carlevato justified the presence of each item.

“Because of the cold and what have you, I decided to buy a knit hat, if you will, and in this case it contained a ski mask,” he said. “I’d wear it putting on chains or in the car because the heater in my car was not working properly.”

The gun, a weapon he traded for an old car in May 1998, he said wasn’t normally kept in his 1982 brown Toyota Corolla station wagon. He kept it in his bedroom in a maroon satchel where he said his wife of 25 years never looked. He said he didn’t want her to find it because she doesn’t like guns. He said it was just chance the satchel was in his car the day of his arrest.

The knife, according to the defendant, is a memento from his father; the boot laces used to repair winter tire chains.

As for his alleged victims, a 34-year-old admitted former prostitute and a 51-year-old woman who works at a Stateline casino, Carlevato said they asked to be dropped off in a desolate area near the El Dorado and Amador County line.

“I offered to take her back to South Lake Tahoe or drop her in Meyers, but she had seen the cops in Meyers and didn’t want to go there,” Carlevato said of the 34-year-old. “So I let her out about one-half mile before Picketts Junction … an easier place to get a ride. Her statement was something like she had hitchhiked all her life.”

Earlier in the trial, the woman identified Carlevato as the man who forced her at gunpoint to orally copulate him and then stranded her in the middle of the night in July on State Route 89.

The defendant said he encountered the 51-year-old woman when he stopped to go to the bathroom on the side of Aspen Avenue. He testified that in October he offered her a ride and she accepted. According to Carlevato, the two had intercourse in the back of his station wagon and he told her he did not want to continue the relationship. Then he said she got angry and demanded to be let out of the car.

“Does that happen often, driving from South Lake Tahoe with a complete stranger, who you just startled, and they decide they want you?” asked Peter O’Hara, El Dorado County deputy district attorney.

Carlevato answered, “No, that doesn’t happen often.

“It was a mutual attraction. She impressed me as being a very attractive young lady … there was a physical attraction right away.”

Weeks earlier, the now 52-year-old woman testified that Carlevato kidnapped her at gunpoint and raped her and kicked her out of his car near Blue Lakes Road.

The defendant, a former poker room supervisor at Jackson Rancheria Casino, is charged with 11 felony counts stemming from cases involving three women. If convicted on all charges he could be sentenced to several life terms in prison.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.