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Local Man Admits to 3 Rapes

Laborer pleads guilty to Thousand Oaks assaults on the same day his trial was scheduled to begin. He has been in custody since 2002.

March 24, 2004|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

A 41-year-old Thousand Oaks laborer has pleaded guilty to raping three women in the city and could get up to 48 years in prison when sentenced next month.

Narcisso Solis is scheduled to appear for sentencing April 28 before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Herbert Curtis III. Solis entered his plea Monday, when his trial was scheduled to start. He has remained in jail since his arrest in August 2002.

Solis, a tile setter and occasional construction worker, originally faced 28 felony counts alleging sexual assault, burglary, false imprisonment and assault with a deadly weapon. In a plea agreement, Solis agreed to plead guilty to eight counts selected by the prosecution.

"I think we achieved our objective of protecting the public and putting a serial rapist out of circulation for a long time," said Ernesto Acosta, the senior deputy district attorney prosecuting the case. "We also achieved the objective of not having to bring the victims into court to testify, so they don't have to relive the experience. I'd say it was a fair resolution."

Acosta said Solis pleaded guilty to "the most serious" of the charges against him and was expected to receive at least 30 years when sentenced. "Even if he gets half of that [maximum sentence], 24 years -- he'll get more than that, I'm certain -- that's a long time," Acosta said.

Deputy Public Defender Howard Asher declined Tuesday to discuss the case but said Solis' admitting to the charges and sparing his victims from testifying could induce the judge to consider a lower sentence.

Solis was born in the small Texas Panhandle town of Pampa, about 60 miles northeast of Amarillo. He has been living in the Conejo Valley for at least 20 years and his local criminal record dates back to 1986 when he failed to appear on a Ventura County traffic citation, according to Capt. Frank O'Hanlon, who supervised the investigation.

From there, O'Hanlon said, Solis had numerous run-ins with law enforcement: arrests on suspicion of trespassing, assault with a deadly weapon, drunk driving, public drunkenness, committing lewd acts, drug possession and spousal battery.

Solis was arrested in connection with a 1990 Thousand Oaks sexual assault but was released because of a lack of evidence, O'Hanlon said. Solis also was a suspect in an unsolved 1993 Thousand Oaks rape case, but was not charged in that incident after his 2002 arrest because it was beyond the six-year statute of limitations

O'Hanlon, in charge of the East County Sheriff's Station detective bureau, said investigators developed a profile of the then-unknown rape suspect and Solis matched a number of the traits. "When this guy was identified, he was textbook -- public drunkenness, prowling and prior sexual assaults," he said.

The string of sexual attacks that led to Solis' conviction began in August 1998, continued in January 2002 and concluded with the July 16, 2002, rape of a 27-year-old woman in her apartment on Hillcrest Drive. She had returned from briefly dumping her trash when she found Solis standing in her living room with a weapon, O'Hanlon said.

Solis would usually break into a victim's home at night when she was expected to be asleep, enter her bedroom and use a knife during the attack. His arrest came after a monthlong investigation that included contacting FBI and state parole agents for clues.

Along with DNA evidence and detailed descriptions from victims, items found in Solis' vehicle -- such as rubber gloves and gauze to gag victims -- suggested he was the suspect, authorities said.

O'Hanlon said Solis' 12 years of suspected sexual assaults was the longest in Conejo Valley history to his knowledge. Since Solis' 2002 arrest, O'Hanlon said there have been no cases of nonacquaintance rape reported in Thousand Oaks.

Solis' final arrest forced investigators to race the clock. As the serial rape suspect was being processed for release from jail on a charge of suspicion of driving under the influence in August 2002, the county crime lab returned DNA evidence that linked Solis to the attacks in January and July of that year. Later that week, additional DNA tests concluded Solis also was a match in an unsolved rape from August 1998.

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