Defendant in 2019 Irvine sexual assault takes the witness stand
A man accused of kidnapping a woman and attempting to sexually assault her three years ago in Irvine told jurors that he did intend to rape her while testifying in Department C27 of the Superior Courthouse in Santa Ana on Thursday.
Eduardo Gonzalez-Godoy had been charged with kidnapping to commit rape, assault with intent to commit a sex crime, criminal threats and second-degree burglary, as well as one misdemeanor count of brandishing a replica gun, in connection with an attack that happened on the 17800 block of Von Karman Avenue at about 1:20 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2019. Surveillance footage played during his trial showed him pointing a fake Glock 19 at a woman who was vacuuming in an office building, then struggling with her for control of the pellet gun for about five minutes.
“What do I say? You saw the video,” the public defender representing Gonzalez-Godoy, Randall Bethune, said during his opening statements Thursday. “My concern is that you have already made up your mind ... but you must give Mr. Gonzales an opportunity to be heard.”
The defendant said he had been smoking marijuana and also consumed an entire vial of THC fluid before going out to find a woman to “hook up with.” He entered an office where the victim was cleaning and searched the floor to make sure she was alone before approaching her.
“Why?” his attorney asked him.
“So I could eventually sexually assault her,” the defendant replied.
Gonzalez-Godoy said he told her he had condoms and then asked her to have sex with him. She said no, pulled out her phone and said she was going to call for help. At that point, he drew the replica firearm hidden in his waistband and aimed it at her face.
The victim, referred to only as Jane Doe during proceedings, pleaded with the defendant, saying “this wasn’t what she wanted” and “she had two young kids,” Gonzalez-Godoy recalled during testimony. He said he pushed her against a wall and tried to put the pellet gun away, but he was unable to tuck it back into his waistband while struggling with her.
The victim placed both hands on the replica Glock, and the defendant admitted trying to take off the woman’s pants while the two wrestled for control of it. They wound up in a room adjacent to where she had been working, then they tripped over a couch.
“She fought and she fought and she fought,” Bethune said. “And she was right to fight.”
She wound up on top of him and in possession of the pellet gun. She then repeatedly tried to rack what appeared to be its slide but was unable to because it wasn’t an actual firearm.
“I laughed and said ‘ha, it’s not real,’” the defendant said from the witness stand Thursday.
The victim ran to another building in the office complex to get help. Meanwhile, the defendant fled through a different exit, accidentally slamming into an exterior glass wall on his way out. His DNA matched some found on that wall and the pellet magazine of the replica Glock, Chantel Callahan, a forensic scientist with the Orange County Crime Lab, said during testimony Wednesday.
Gonzalez-Godoy was arrested the following day at the market in Tustin where he worked. During an initial interview in a break room of the business, he told police a twin brother might have been the person they were looking for.
The defendant does not have a twin brother. In that and subsequent interviews, he also suggested that his DNA had been planted at the crime scene.
“I lied to them because I thought I was going to get away with this,” Gonzalez-Godoy said during testimony.
After police showed him surveillance footage of the attack in the office, the defendant admitted he entered the building to commit a sexual assault. He also told police that he was less aggressive after he and the victim moved into a side room of the building, and accused her of fondling his genitals during their fight.
“None of this deals with the issue at hand,” Bethune said. “In fact, it deflects from it. Did he commit a kidnap?”
Gonzalez-Godoy and his attorney also conceded that he was responsible for three of the other four crimes he has been accused of. But Bethune argued that no kidnapping took place during the sexual assault. He noted that, according to the legal definition of kidnap, prosecutors need to prove that the forcible transportation of a victim from one location to another increased the threat of harm to that person in order for jurors to find the defendant guilty of that crime.
Bethune noted that his client had already inspected the surrounding area to make sure his victim was alone before approaching her. Gonzalez-Godoy testified that he would have raped her anywhere in the building. His attorney argued that the man and woman wound up in a side room of the business as a result of their fight, not because he specifically intended to take her there.
“She was in danger the moment he walked into the building,” Bethune said. “Her risk of harm did not change.”
Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeffrey Boyd told jurors that the defendant had told police he moved the client toward the room because it had a bed. The prosecutor also pointed out that the room was further away from the building’s exits, and out of view from the entryway.
“The only reason we are not here for more serious charges is because Jane Doe fought like hell,” Boyd said. He later added “This was a nightmare for Jane Doe, who works late at night in an office building, one of the worst nightmares she could imagine.”
During Gonzalez-Godoy’s testimony, Judge Terri K. Flynn overruled Boyd’s objections to questions that prompted the defendant to tell jurors he regretted what he had done. But she stopped short of allowing him to say “I’m sorry,” ordering those words be stricken from the record on the grounds of insufficient relevance to the case.
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