FAIRFIELD — After more than a year of delays interspersed with sporadic court hearings, the effort to get guilty verdicts overturned and garner a new jury trial for a 16-year-old convicted rapist wrapped up Monday with a judge ordering all parties back to court Oct. 18.
That’s when the judge will announce whether Alexander Cervantes will get a new trial.
A jury found Cervantes guilty in September 2012 of multiple attempted murder, mayhem, rape, sodomy, assault and burglary charges. Cervantes, who was 14 years old at the time of his crimes, was prosecuted as an adult.
Cervantes broke into a Vacaville home on the night of Dec. 12, 2010. He attacked a 13-year-old girl and her baby brother. The girl was raped and sodomized and was stabbed 42 times. Her brother was stabbed 13 times. Cervantes, who had been drinking heavily earlier in the evening, passed out and the girl was able to grab up her wounded brother, flee to a neighbor’s home and call police.
It took jurors about six hours of deliberation to find Cervantes guilty of 13 felonies.
On the day Cervantes was scheduled to be sentenced, Peter Obstler, an attorney with the international law firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP, announced they would be taking up Cervantes’ case, replacing the Solano County Public Defender’s Office. which had represented Cervantes before and during trial.
Since the law firm took over, a team of four lawyers have typically attended court hearings, lobbying for a new trial by claiming the Public Defender’s Office botched the defense. The three deputy public defenders who handled Cervantes’ case and numerous potential witnesses who were not called before jurors were questioned extensively about the case.
The new defense team’s efforts have focused largely on their belief that the Public Defender’s Office should have provided jurors with evidence about Cervantes possibly taking psychedelic mushrooms before he broke into the home, along with evidence of his pre-existing mental health problems.
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