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New Mexico to Return Suspected Rapist

May 15, 1986|MARC IGLER and ROY H. CAMPBELL | Times Staff Writers

A 30-year-old Burbank man who served nine years in prison after pleading guilty in 1976 to a series of rapes in Van Nuys and North Hollywood is expected to be returned to Glendale from New Mexico to face charges of rape and kidnaping, authorities said this week.

Rodney Richard Ransom agreed Friday to be extradited from Gallup, N. M., to Glendale after he pleaded guilty in Gallup to unrelated armed robbery, burglary and escape charges, Gallup Deputy Dist. Atty. Dave Pederson said.

Guilty Plea in 1976

The local charges against Ransom stem from an April 3 incident in which a 26-year-old Glendale woman was raped and taken from her home, Glendale police said Tuesday. The victim was attacked in her Southwest Glendale apartment in the early evening. After raping her, the attacker drove her to the Griffith Park area and released her, police said.

Ransom also is charged with robbery and burglary in that incident.

Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Atty. Howard Swart said Ransom had been ordered in 1976 to stand trial in Van Nuys Superior Court on 37 felony counts involving the rapes of 12 women in Van Nuys and North Hollywood between April 1, 1975, and Jan. 23, 1976. According to court records, Ransom pleaded guilty to four counts of rape, one count of robbery and one count of burglary.

Ransom served his term and was released last fall when he returned to Burbank, Pederson said.

On April 16, Ransom was arrested in Gallup on charges relating to an auto theft in Arizona. A routine check showed that he was a suspect in the rape and kidnaping in Glendale, Pederson said.

Ransom subsequently escaped from Gallup-McKinley County Jail on April 23 when a jail door was left open, Pederson said. While out of jail, Ransom burglarized a home, robbed two convenience stores and stole a car in a series of crimes that led from New Mexico to Utah, Pederson said.

Captured After Desert Chase

He was recaptured on April 27 after he ran a roadblock at the Utah-Arizona border and led Navajo tribal police on a 60-mile chase across the Arizona desert, Pederson said. He was captured and taken back to Gallup.

Through an arrangement with the district attorney's office in Gallup, Ransom pleaded guilty on the condition that any New Mexico prison sentence be served concurrently with any subsequent sentence he might receive in California, Pederson said. Ransom faces a maximum sentence of 13 years on the charges in New Mexico, Pederson said.

Ransom will be taken to court in New Mexico on Friday for formal sentencing, then transported to Glendale. Glendale detectives said they did not know what day Ransom will arrive in Glendale.

He was being held in the Gallup-McKinley County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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