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Oxnard man who kidnapped, threatened ex-girlfriend gets 24 years

September 09, 2013|By Jill Cowan

An Oxnard man who dragged his ex-girlfriend, kicking and screaming, to a truck waiting to take her to Mexico before threatening to dump her body in Tijuana was sentenced Monday to 293 months -- just over 24 years -- in federal prison, authorities said.

After a trial last year, a jury convicted Rudy Soto, 26, of conspiring to kidnap and kidnapping the woman from her home in downtown Los Angeles, according to a U.S. attorney's office news release.

Soto and the victim, who was not identified, had argued over the phone on Sept. 14, 2010, a court sentencing memo says, adding that their on-and-off relationship had been "plagued with drama and strife."

Later that night, Soto's codefendant, Erin Nicole Fisher, 22, of Santa Paula, drove him from Oxnard to the woman's Los Angeles apartment, where Soto confronted the woman, according to the document. Fisher, the document says, had also dated Soto.

When the victim tried to escape to her sister's apartment down the hall, the memo says, Soto carried her to the truck and pinned her into the front seat while Fisher drove for the border, prosecutors said.

Over the course of the hours-long drive, the victim continued to struggle with Soto, who at one point called her family to tell them that the woman didn't deserve to be in the country, "because she 'deceived him,'" according to the memo. That's when Soto told the woman's brother-in-law that he planned to dump her in Tijuana, the document says.

Prosecutors said Soto identified himself and briefly allowed the woman to talk to her brother-in-law.

Soto also held a knife to the woman's throat and threatened to kill her, the document says.

Eventually, the woman told the jury, she "accepted she was going to be killed," the news release said.

"I was tired, and I just resigned myself," she said during her testimony. "And I said if he is going to kill me, let him kill me."

Mexican authorities stopped the truck just after it passed through the Otay Mesa border crossing, authorities said. The woman, "crying and shaking," seized the opportunity to tell authorities she'd been kidnapped.

Prosecutors wrote in the memo that, "the public needs to be protected" from people like Soto, whom they wrote had a "history of aggression and violence toward others."

Furthermore, they wrote, Soto exercised a "Svengali-type hold over Fisher," which helped him convince her to take part in the kidnapping.

Fisher, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to kidnap, was "in many ways" also a victim, prosecutors wrote.

She agreed to participate in a court-ordered diversionary program as part of her plea, the memo says.

U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II handed down Soto's sentence in a Los Angeles court.


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Twitter: @jillcowan

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