Santa Monica Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Raping Girl, 17

Times Staff Writer

A Santa Monica resident whose neck is tattooed with the bar code of the Red Bull energy drink was found guilty in Los Angeles Friday of raping a 17-year-old prostitute in Hollywood in May.

Prince Kumar Ram Justice, 26, was convicted of oral copulation, kidnapping, rape and sodomy after a six-day trial, in which jurors were told he threatened the victim with a knife after picking her up near Hollywood and Cahuenga boulevards.

Justice, due to be sentenced March 6, was acquitted of forcing a 16-year-old girl to perform sex acts after he allegedly ordered her into his car in a Santa Monica parking lot.

"Frankly, I'm surprised by the verdict, because the victims were questionable," said Anthony Arzili, Justice's attorney.

Arzili said he will ask for a new trial at the sentencing hearing. Prosecutors intend to seek a life sentence for Justice.

Arzili said after the verdict that Deputy Dist. Atty. Steve Katz had unfairly characterized his client, showing jurors pictures of handcuffs on Justice's bed, cans of Red Bull stacked neatly on a dresser, and a gargoyle in Justice's apartment.

The 17-year-old told Los Angeles police that Justice threatened her with a six-inch knife after parking on a secluded street.

Then, the girl said, Justice drove her to his apartment, where he continued to assault her.

Justice was arrested in Vancouver, Wash., on May 24. The night before, he had been pulled over for speeding by the Washington State Patrol. He was taken into custody the next morning when he went to the station to pick up his car. He was extradited to Los Angeles and held on $7-million bail.

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