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Donaldson May Face 3rd Strike With Prison Weapons Charge

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Paroled sex offender Robert Lee Donaldson, who is awaiting trial on charges he raped four children and teen-age girls just months after his release from prison, has been charged with another crime that could send him to prison for life under the state’s recently enacted “three strikes” law.

Donaldson, 35, who has been held on $2 million bail since his arrest last fall, was charged last month with possessing a weapon in prison, a felony that would be his third strike, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jacquelyn Lacey said.

Donaldson faces about 150 years in prison if convicted of the rape charges, but a third strike conviction would guarantee that he would be ineligible for parole for at least 25 years, Lacey said.

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Defense attorney Bobby R. Black said that Donaldson had been hospitalized after a recent assault in a courthouse holding cell. “It is my understanding that he picked up a shank in jail,” Black said, using the prison slang term for an improvised knife.

Lacey said she learned earlier this week about the weapons charge, which was filed by prosecutors at the downtown Criminal Courts Building.

In the sex case, a pretrial hearing in San Fernando Superior Court was postponed Friday so the weapons case could be transferred to the San Fernando court from downtown. Lacey will prosecute both.

Between August and October, Donaldson allegedly raped several Pacoima schoolgirls, ages 9 to 16, as they walked alone to school. He was earlier convicted of raping a 15-year-old boy in the same Pacoima neighborhood in 1982. The string of attacks generated fear among parents before Donaldson was arrested in Inglewood, allegedly as he stalked a fifth victim.

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