Fate of accused rapist in hands of jury today | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Fate of accused rapist in hands of jury today

William Ferchland
About 2,000 customers lost power Tuesday at 1:55 p.m. when a transformer blew off Al Tahoe Boulevard. A Sierra Pacific Power crew resumed electricity about 35 minutes later, but not before at least one worker reported a loud boom at Denny's Restaurant and many customers formed lines at Rite Aid to buy Halloween candy.
Jim Grant / Tribune file photo

After three weeks of trial, a jury’s decision on an accused rapist might come down to time.

The importance of time, and where people were on June 9, was discussed during closing arguments in the trial of Eduardo Galecia-Hernandez, who faces life in prison if convicted on charges alleging he kidnapped, raped and threatened a woman.

Prosecutor Lisa Serafini told a jury of 10 men and four women – two are alternates – Galecia-Hernandez kidnapped the woman, called Jane Doe to protect her identity, to please his wife and satisfy his desires for Doe.

Once he kidnapped the woman, he allegedly raped Doe. His wife, Jamie Lynn Olson, is accused of beating Doe and forcing her to perform oral sex.

“Her wrists were bound. She was gagged. She was brutalized,” Serafini said.

“Jane was marked,” Serafini added, referring to the three-dot mark caused by a lit cigarette on Doe’s thigh. The formation mirrored a tattoo on Olson’s hand.

Although the knife wasn’t found that Doe said she felt while being kidnapped by Galecia-Hernandez, Serafini said Olson’s broken acrylic nail was a weapon used in injuring Doe.

A lack of evidence, including fingerprints, was found in the motel room in Beverly Lodge where the alleged incident took place; Serafini cited that was an indication Galecia-Hernandez and his wife cleaned the room.

Defense attorney Lori London, who called a representative from Sprint Nextel to the stand Tuesday morning, referenced logs from Galecia-Hernandez’s cell phone. On June 9, when Galecia-Hernandez testified he and his wife took a drive to the Sacramento area, cell phone logs indicated his phone was used all the way to Folsom then back to South Lake Tahoe.

Doe said she was kidnapped just as she was walking to work at Heavenly Village. She was supposed to be there at 5 p.m. but she was late. She testified she was up for three straight days high on drugs and smoked cocaine while driving to work.

“Time is not that important because we heard testimony that time flies by when you use cocaine,” Serafini said.

Doe allegedly received free cocaine from Galecia-Hernandez and called him often.

London called the prosecution’s case a “fantasy.”

“Time is important,” London said. “Jane knew what time it was.”

Other topics included whether Galecia-Hernandez and his wife had two rooms at the Beverly Lodge, a lack of DNA evidence and the couple’s 18-month-old son who Doe said was in the room while she was attacked.

Focusing on Doe’s initial unwillingness to contact authorities after she was released, London said the woman had to make up a story about the drug dealer to explain the injuries. Serafini, in her rebuttal, said it would be counterproductive for Doe to pin blame on Galecia-Hernandez and risk ending the supply of free cocaine.

Jury members will begin deliberation today.

Before closing arguments began, Halloween played a trick on the El Dorado County Superior Court as Judge James Dawson had to deal with a power outage while reading lengthy jury instructions.

As dim backup lights struggled to stay on and eventually going dark twice, Dawson used the help of flashlights to give the jury its instructions. At times Dawson would chuckle and provide a couple jokes.

“At first I thought I was having a stroke,” he once said.

“It feels like Halloween,” he said.


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