Chatsworth : 2 Men Get 119 Years in Rape-Robberies

Two Canoga Park men were sentenced Monday to a maximum 119 years and four months each in state prison for raping and sodomizing two women and robbing their male companions in Chatsworth Park last year.

Francisco J. Ochoa and Jose A. Umanzor, both 22-year-old natives of El Salvador, were convicted by a jury last month of 10 felony counts, eight of them sex crimes.

The pair were arrested after the Los Angeles Police Department staked out the park in search of whoever had attacked two couples on separate occasions in mid-1994 as they strolled through the park after dark.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Gloria Katz said the aggressive intervention of police no doubt saved many others from the same fate.

"Kudos to the Los Angeles Police Department," Katz said. "I always refer to this case as a serial crime in the making."

One of the two female victims, quoted in a probation report, said the rape "has destroyed my personal life. . . . It led to the breakup with my boyfriend. . . . I'm afraid to go out at night."

Both assaults were surprise attacks in which the woman was dragged into the bushes and raped at gunpoint by one attacker, while her companion was tied up with his own shoelaces and robbed at knifepoint by the second assailant.

Then the two rapists changed places.

The jury last month took three days to reach a verdict. One juror said the panel struggled with whether to convict Ochoa.

When the pair, who worked at the same carwash, were arrested, they had a toy gun and two knives. Jewelry belonging to the male victims was recovered from Umanzor's house.

With help from a scathing probation report about the first-time offenders, Katz was successful in persuading Superior Court Judge Shari Kreisler to hand down the maximum sentence.

"It is obvious such animalistic behavior cannot be tolerated in a civilized society," the probation report concluded.

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