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Canyon Country rape trial goes to jury today

After 15 days of testimony, attorneys will make their closing arguments

Posted: January 29, 2009 10:35 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Both sides in Adrian Arriano's trial for rape rested Thursday, a court official said.

Judge Barbara Scheper will give the jury its instructions at 10:30 a.m. today, then Defense Attorney Julia Knox and Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Angela Jordan will make their closing arguments, a court official said.

The district attorney's office alleges that Arriano committed two knife-point rapes in Canyon Country in 2007.

The district attorney charged Arriano with 29 counts including one count of attempted murder; 10 counts of forcible rape; five counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object; three counts of sodomy; three counts of forced oral copulation; four counts of burglary; one count of false imprisonment by violence; one count of residential robbery and one count of assault to commit a felony during a burglary.

Jurors watched the second of two interrogation videos and read from the translated transcript Thursday.

Knox and Jordan dueled through 15 days of testimony. Knox called Erin O'Brien back to the stand Wednesday for 20 minutes.

O'Brien told investigators she saw Arriano, a twice-deported illegal alien, when he broke into her Canyon Country apartment June 26, 2007.

She alleges she screamed loud enough to scare Arriano away before he raped her.

During Wednesday's testimony, Knox handed O'Brien a printout O'Brien initialed in 2008 where she allegedly picked Arriano out of a lineup.

O'Brien wrote the number four on the lineup sheet indicating the person in the lineup she believed to be Arriano.

"She picked the wrong person," Knox told The Signal outside of the proceedings.

Jordan attempted to restore O'Brien's credibility on re-direct examination on Wednesday. She asked how O'Brien was able to identify Arriano.

"I saw his eyes," O'Brien said. But she hedged and continued to explain her brief encounter with Arriano in 2007.

"I can't see up close because my eyes are no good," she said.

DNA evidence weighed heavily in the case, and Jordan used Los Angeles County Scientific Services senior criminalist Lori Schumann to establish Arriano as the man who committed both rapes.

Schumann testified on Tuesday that Arriano was a contributor to the DNA samples in each alleged rape and there was a slim chance someone besides Arriano contributed the DNA.

"There is a 1 in 248 quintillion chance this is someone besides Arriano," Schumann said.

Knox wasn't awed by the statistics and scrutinized the crime lab. She questioned whether a third genetic marker that registered on a computer analysis could have come from a third person.

"That's a possibility," Schumann said to Knox inquiries about the third DNA marker.

Knox also questioned why some genetic evidence was ignored.

Schumann didn't initially identify the third genetic fingerprint as inconclusive.

Knox questioned Schumann's basis for identifying the third genetic fingerprint as inconclusive.

"That comes from training and experience," Schumann said.

Jordan tried to restore the expert witness' credibility on redirect.

"You were asked a lot of questions about ifs. But in this case, was there evidence of contamination? In this case, was there evidence of degradation?" Jordan asked.

"No," Schumann said.

Jordan pressed Schumann on whether the existence of a third genetic fingerprint invalidates the sample.
"No," Schumann said.

The jury will enter deliberation after the judge's instructions and the closing arguments, a court official said.

San Fernando Superior Court is at 900 Third Street San Fernando.


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