Ex-Convict Gets 37 Years in Rape of Blind Student

Times Staff Writer

A Northridge man convicted of raping a blind girl at knifepoint in her college dormitory room eight days after he was released on parole was sentenced Friday to 37 years in state prison.

San Fernando Superior Court Judge Robert D. Fratianne used four previous felony convictions against the man, Joseph R. Taylor, to add 20 years to the maximum 17-year sentence allowed for Taylor's rape of the 17-year-old in her room at California State University, Northridge.

A jury in November found Taylor, 27, guilty of forcible rape, residential robbery, first-degree burglary and assault with a deadly weapon for the attack on Sept. 11, 1984, in which the girl's roommate was choked into unconsciousness and robbed.

Other Convictions

Since 1977, Taylor also has been convicted of attempted rape, robbery, burglary and grand theft, a probation report said. In addition, the report showed that Taylor was under court supervision almost constantly from the time he was 15 years old for robbery and burglary convictions.

Under state sentencing laws, Fratianne was allowed to add five years to Taylor's sentence for each adult felony conviction.

Taylor at one time was enrolled in a program for ex-convicts at Cal State Northridge but was not a student there at the time of the 1984 attack.

During the trial, the rape victim and her roommate identified Taylor as their assailant. The blind girl looked at Taylor through a six-inch monocular to make the identification.

Denied Attacks

Although he conceded that Taylor was on the campus, defense attorney Lawrence Elkins said Taylor did not attack the women and disputed their identification. Taylor did not testify in his own defense.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Kent Cahill on Friday urged Fratianne to give Taylor the maximum sentence.

"We're dealing with a man here who is utterly devoid of redeeming features," Cahill said. "The injustice here is that the court is only permitted to give him 37 years, where in truth he should never be released."

Fratianne rejected Elkins' request that Taylor be placed in a facility where he could receive psychiatric care.

"I'm interested in the well-being of society and the well-being of the victims," Fratianne said. "There is no place for this man but state prison. . . . Every time he has been out, he has inflicted harm on someone else. He's a danger to society."

Before the sentencing, Fratianne issued a sharp warning to defense attorney Elkins that he never be tardy for a court appearance again.

Contempt Threat

Fratianne on Monday threatened to hold Elkins in contempt for missing Taylor's sentencing hearing three times without permission. Fratianne could have ordered Elkins jailed for his absences.

Elkins told Fratianne on Friday that he paid another attorney to appear in his place at the hearings, but the man never appeared.

After scolding Elkins, Fratianne, saying that it was "still close to the Christmas season," said he would not cite the attorney for contempt.

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