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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / EL RIO

Victims Tell Judge of Assaults' Effect

January 13, 1998|HILARY E. MacGREGOR

Three women asked a Ventura County judge Monday to give the maximum sentence to the man convicted of assaulting them after ramming his truck into their cars.

"I still can't be alone, not for 10 minutes," one of the women told Superior Court Judge Allen Steele. "I will never be the same person that I was. Ever."

The woman said the attack transformed her from a confident woman who could travel alone in Europe to a fearful woman who had to sleep on the floor of her parent's house, screaming with nightmares.

Silverio Ambriz, 32, of El Rio was found guilty last month of attacking three women and raping a fourth along California 118 near Somis on the morning of Nov. 29, 1996. Ambriz left his final victim naked, bruised and bound with her own shoelaces in an orchard.

Steele found Ambriz guilty of 14 felonies, including rape, assault, kidnapping, robbery and solicitation for murder.

Ambriz was scheduled to be sentenced Monday, but the hearing was rescheduled for Jan. 26.

But Steele allowed the victims to speak during the brief hearing. Tearfully, they recounted that Ambriz chased them in his truck at high speed and forced them off the road.

"I was the type of woman who could get into the car at 10, 11, midnight--I had no fear," said one woman. "Now there is not one day I don't get out of the car looking in front, behind, to the side, having my keys ready in my hand. I carry a piece of metal--it's a bar."

A fourth woman, who was raped, did not appear. But her mother and her brother spoke on her behalf.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jacqueline Wise said she is seeking 25 years to life just for the rape case, with the special allegations of tying and binding. She said she will seek at least 15 more years for the other 13 counts.

"There is no room for leniency in this case," Wise said. "He's still in denial. He shows no remorse for what he did."

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