A homeless man who is also a registered sex offender pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he kidnapped and raped a woman in a Southern California parking lot.
Michael Zinzun entered the not guilty plea in a Glendale courtroom during his first appearance since his arrest on Thursday, according to Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Police were called Thursday about 4 a.m. to Los Feliz Road and Central Avenue, where a witness reported a sexual assault was underway.
Police said Zinzun, 48, approached a 56-year-old woman who was sleeping on a bus bench and allegedly asked her if she wanted to smoke meth.
She declined. Zinzun remained, and eventually she asked him to leave.
Glendale Police Sgt. Robert William alleged that Zinzun began to sexually assault the woman and threatened to further hurt her if she did not stop screaming.
Police allege that he dragged the woman from the bus bench and tossed her behind a small retaining wall, where, shielded from public view, he raped her and punched her in the face.
When officers arrived, the woman was visibly injured and half-naked. Zinzun tried to run away, but he was arrested after a brief pursuit.
Zinzun fought with police and an officer suffered minor injuries from the incident, William said.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Miguel Espinoza said in a statement that Zinzun was charged with one count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, resisting arrest and kidnapping to commit rape.
The criminal complaint field in Los Angeles County Superior Court includes the additional allegation that Zinzun was convicted in Florida of sexual assault in 1998 and burglary in 2005.
If convicted, Zinzun faces up to life in prison. He’s being held in L.A. County Jail with bail set at $3.33 million. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 25.
Times Community News staff writer Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report.