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East Valley Focus

North Hollywood : Trial Ordered for Parolee in Rape Case

June 04, 1993|THOM MROZEK

A prison parolee was ordered to stand trial Thursday on charges of raping an 84-year-old woman, even though the victim cannot identify the man who attacked her in her North Hollywood home during a burglary.

Juan Molina, 37, a Mexican national, is linked to the May 6, 1992, attack by DNA evidence.

The victim lived in a small cottage behind another home on Archwood Street. Molina was identified as a suspect when three of his fingerprints were found on a beer can in the main house the same day as the attack, police said.

A sample of Molina's blood was drawn, and a genetic analysis linked him to evidence recovered from the woman after the rape. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a basic element of genetic material and is contained in every human cell. Only 1 in 9.5 million people have the same DNA makeup as Molina, according to testimony given Thursday at a preliminary hearing.

The victim, who used two canes as she slowly made her way to the witness stand, said she was lounging in her small residence when she was surprised by a man who demanded money and then hit her on the head.

The white-haired woman testified that the man took money from her purse, then raped her as blood from her head wound streamed down her face.

Following the sexual assault, a resident of the front house called from her job after being alerted by neighbors who heard dogs barking, according to other testimony.

When she answered the phone, the victim said she yelled for help. Her attacker then yanked the phone from the wall and threatened her with a 14-inch knife that had been taken from the main residence, she testified.

The woman cannot identify Molina, but he fits the general physical description that she gave to police. Molina "flatly denies" any responsibility for the attack, according to defense attorney Tamar Rachel Toister.

Municipal Judge Michael S. Luros ordered Molina to stand trial on charges of forcible rape, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and two counts of residential burglary.

Luros said the woman told "a tragic and very, very pitiful story."

Molina is in custody in lieu of $175,000 bail.

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