Burglar linked by DNA faces trial in sex violence

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsSmith has pleaded not guilty. His defense attorney had raised doubts about his mental competency, but Smith was evaluated by doctors and found mentally competent to stand trial, officials said. He was being held in lieu of $12 million bail. Smith’s attorney could not be reached for comment. Smith was linked to the Lancaster sex crimes under a state law that requires all felons to submit DNA to a database that can be accessed by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. Some of the assaults occurred during the day in public places – including a park, a coin laundry and a parking lot – within a 11/2-mile radius of central Lancaster, near where Smith lived in early 2003, officials said. LANCASTER – A state prison inmate linked by DNA evidence to a series of violent sexual assaults in Lancaster in 2003 has been ordered to stand trial on charges he assaulted four women, shot a fifth and was defied by a sixth who managed to call 911 on her cell phone despite his threats to kill her and her child. Jacob Renald Smith, 22, is charged in six incidents in 2003 involving assaults, sex crimes – including some against women who had small children with them – and a home-invasion robbery in which a woman in her 60s was shot in the chest. “During this time period, Jacob Smith launched into a series of violent, predatory acts aimed at unsuspecting women in Lancaster,” Deputy District Attorney Michael Blake said. “In one of those, the target of the attack was holding a child while Smith was holding a sawed-off shotgun on the mother and child.” Imprisoned since September 2004 for a San Bernardino County burglary, Smith was bound over for trial in the 2003 Lancaster crimes after a preliminary hearing Tuesday on 52 charges including assault with a firearm, attempted murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping and forcible oral copulation, officials said. All but two of the six attacks in 2003 occurred before late March, when sheriff’s officials released a composite drawing of the man who had sexually assaulted two women and tried to assault a third. Two days after the composite drawing was released, a man fitting the same description bicycled up to the rural home of an elderly mother and daughter, whom he asked to give him a drink of water and let him use the phone. He shot the younger woman and robbed the home. Then the attacks stopped until August, when a woman walking near Lancaster City Park was forced down the side of an Antelope Valley Freeway overpass and assaulted. Seven weeks later, Smith was arrested as an ex-felon in possession of a gun, and he was sent to prison for 71/2 months. Three months after getting out, he was back in prison on a San Bernardino County burglary conviction. In the first Lancaster case in January 2003, the victim testified she was attacked while on a morning walk near Avenue K-8 and Gadsden Avenue. A bicyclist passed her, asked her for the time and then returned when she was alone, officials said. In February 2003, a woman who was visiting the area was lost and trying to get to the Antelope Valley Freeway when she pulled into a parking lot at Division Street and Avenue J to ask for directions. Her 4-year-old son and their dog were with her in the car, Blake said. When she rolled down the window, a man with a gun opened her front passenger door and forced her to drive him to a nearby apartment complex, Blake said. When she refused to perform a sex act, he shoved the barrel of the gun into her mouth, breaking her teeth and cutting the roof of her mouth, and threatened to kill her child, Blake said. The man fled after she tricked him into letting her return to her car, where she grabbed her cell phone. In March 2003, a woman washing clothes at an East Avenue J coin laundry was dragged into a back room and forced at gunpoint to perform a sex act while she held her 5-year-old daughter. Two weeks later, another woman was robbed, tied up and sexually assaulted near Tierra Bonita Park in east Lancaster, Blake said. “What was shocking about this conduct, as it came during the testimony, was the degree of violence he used with some of the women, especially the two who had children present,” Blake said. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more