FAIRFIELD — After more than a year of legal maneuvering, a team of lawyers for a 16-year-old violent Vacaville rapist failed in their effort Friday to have a jury’s verdicts thrown out and get a new trial.
Judge Harry S. Kinnicutt ruled that the actions and decisions made by the deputy public defender who served as defense attorney for Alexander Cervantes during his September 2012 jury trial were not inappropriate.
Kinnicutt expressed reticence about second-guessing tactical decisions made during the trial and said that any changes in how the defense case was handled would probably not have led to any change in the numerous guilty verdicts.
Kinnicutt ordered Cervantes to return to court Oct. 28 to be sentenced on multiple charges of 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.
Police found Cervantes passed out on the girl’s blood-stained bed.
The legal team stepped into the case on the day Cervantes was originally set to be sentenced. It was 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.
One of Cervantes’ lawyers previously estimated that Cervantes might be looking at a sentence where he would not be eligible for parole until he was in his 70s.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.