Carlevato found guilty on six counts in sexual attacts |

Carlevato found guilty on six counts in sexual attacts

Gregory Crofton

With eyes fixed on a table in front of him, Edwin Carlevato shook his head in slight disbelief as a court clerk for 15 minutes read each successive guilty verdict.

Monday in El Dorado County Superior Court a jury convicted the 47-year-old Pioneer, Calif., man of the kidnap and rape at gunpoint of a 51-year-old South Shore woman and the sexual assault of another. He will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

Carlevato was found guilty of six felonies that stem from the 1999 attacks; five counts for kidnapping and raping the 51-year-old woman, one for forcing a 34-year-old South Shore woman to orally copulate him. Both victims were left stranded near Picketts Junction in the middle of the night.

The District Attorney’s Office originally charged the defendant with 11 felonies, but one count related to the attempted kidnap of a 21-year-old South Shore woman was dropped during trial.

The jury deadlocked on the four other counts, and Judge Jerald Lasarow declared a mistrial on those counts.

Carlevato is scheduled to be sentenced March 29. Each felony crime could mean at least 25 years to life in prison depending on enhancements. The crimes are more serious because, among other things, Carlevato used a gun, rope and knife against one of the women.

All three woman claimed the defendant threatened them at gunpoint while they were alone and on foot in an area near U.S. Highway 50 and Pioneer Trail. Two of the women were walking home from work at night when they were attacked. The third, a convicted prostitute, testified in court she was panhandling when Carlevato approached her.

“We still have four counts that we will review in the office (and determine) what we’re going to do with them,” said El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney Peter O’Hara, the man who prosecuted the case. “He’s looking at life. He wouldn’t even meet the parole board for 25 years. We think that he’s a dangerous man and should spend the rest of his life in prison. (The verdict) gives the court adequate sentencing opportunity to protect the community.”

Monday was the fourth day a jury of eight women and four men deliberated on the trial that began in mid-December.

The jury decided on the counts related to crimes against the 51-year-old as early as Jan. 30. The rest of the time was absorbed by a court reporter’s reading of testimony from the trial and deliberation on the five other felony counts.

“Some of us thought the (modus operandi) fit, but the questions came down to more considering the testimony,” said jury foreman Ken Spalding. “The testimony helped us decide count eight.”

The eighth count is related to the forced oral copulation of the 34-year-old woman who has a history of prostitution.

“I’m sorry he’s going to have to go through what he’s gonna go through, but it’s because of his own actions,” Spalding said. “I always feel sorry for anyone who gets what’s going to be a long-term sentence, but he wasn’t tricked or coerced into this. So on the other hand you’d have to say he’s going to get what he deserved.”

Carlevato, who is married and has two daughters, was an avid gambler. He was employed as a poker room supervisor at Jackson Rancheria Casino until South Shore police arrested him Nov. 4, 1999.

He came to South Shore on his days off to bet on sporting events.

Detectives were tipped off to Carlevato when the public identified him on surveillance video recorded at a South Shore 7-Eleven. It showed Carlevato entering the store July 10, 1999, the same night the 34-year-old reported she was assaulted.

Court-appointed defense attorney Donald Heape said the tape was made while the 34-year-old sat in his client’s car outside the store. Heape said Carlevato went to the convenience store to buy cigarettes and condoms.

Heape said “of course” he was not satisfied with the verdicts and that his client will appeal the jury’s findings. Heape added that he did not think pretrial publicity, a contentious issue earlier on in the case, affected the outcome.

“I think we got the best possible jury we could considering all the media,” he said. “The jury seemed to look past the media coverage.”

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