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Lawyers Give Closing Arguments in Mall Attacks Trial

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The attorney for a convicted rapist accused of sexually assaulting three women since his release from prison told a jury Wednesday that the opposing prosecutor on the case was using “questionable tactics” out of “desperation.”

But the prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Atty. Debora L. Lloyd, countered that the defense attorney waged a personal attack on her only because the evidence leading to a conviction “was looking pretty good.”

The rejoinders came during closing arguments in the trial of Paul William Jensen, 48, of Newport Beach, who allegedly attacked three women at Orange County shopping malls over a period of time beginning in June, 1990. The Superior Court jury is likely to begin deliberations today.

Jensen is charged with 21 counts of sexual assault, rape, kidnaping and beating. He is also charged with one count of trying to intimidate a victim from his jail cell, allegedly warning her not to speak with the police.

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In the late 1980s, Jensen was convicted of sexually assaulting four women he had met in bars or through newspapers. He served 2 1/2 years in prison.

During Wednesday’s closing arguments, defense attorney Sylvan B. Aronson said his client’s guilt or innocence might ultimately be decided by a mustache.

Aronson said that unlike the suspect shown in a police sketch that was based on the victims’ descriptions, Jensen did not have a mustache at the time of the attacks.

“I hate to be coming back to the mustache, but it’s the key to the whole case,” Aronson said.

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He also pointed out other discrepancies in the victims’ descriptions, such as the color of the attacker’s hair, his height, weight and skin coloring. Aronson said that there was no physical evidence linking Jensen to the crimes.

“All the evidence indicates that he is completely innocent,” Aronson said.

Lloyd denied Aronson’s claims that she had acted improperly in the courtroom and dismissed his argument about the mustache as well.

“Like people don’t disguise themselves,” she countered.

She admitted that there were some minor inconsistencies in the descriptions but stressed that the victims positively identified the defendant in lineups or photographs.

In addition to the victims’ testimony, Lloyd said the defendant’s attempt to intimidate a witness also pointed to his guilt. In her closing argument, Lloyd played a taped recording of a telephone conversation that Jensen had while in jail with the wife of a fellow inmate.

During the conversation, Jensen was heard asking the woman to place a note on one of the victim’s cars. The note he dictated to her was: “You bitch. I warned you. Don’t you dare call police again. You don’t think I know.”

Aronson said Jensen’s purpose in sending the note was not to frighten the victim, but to convince her and the police that the real rapist was still at large.

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