Man to be extradited to face North Carolina charges
By Raul Hernandez,
April 13, 2006

Cesar Gonzalez was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years to life for raping a Thousand Oaks woman who was hiking alone in Triunfo Canyon Park in Westlake Village in 1998.

On Jan. 31, a jury found Gonzalez, 29, guilty of the rape, along with kidnapping to commit rape, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with intent to commit rape and false imprisonment by violence.

Ventura County Judge Rebecca Riley also imposed thousands of dollars in restitution and fines.

"Justice was served. Another sexual predator is off the streets," Prosecutor Chrystina Jenson said outside the courtroom.

Gonzalez's lawyer, Brian Vogel, had asked the judge to consider waiving some of the restitution and fees. He said Gonzalez, who lived in Thousand Oaks, didn't have any money.

"I find it rather offensive when people say defendants, whether they are here legally or illegally or poor or rich, that they have an inability to pay fines and restitution," Jenson said in an interview. "These defendants are going to be serving lengthy prison sentences, and they earn money while they are in prison. There is no reason why they shouldn't reimburse victims of the state. They have many years to do so."

After the rape, the DNA evidence was stored by the Ventura County Sheriff's Forensic Sciences Laboratory and placed in the National DNA offender database known as CODIS, or Combined DNA Index System, according to Jenson.

That data didn't pay off until three years later, when the DNA showed up in a sexual assault on a female jogger in a park in Charlotte, N.C.

A witness saw the attacker fleeing from the woods and got a license number of his truck. That led to Gonzalez's arrest.

Later, he was linked to both rapes by DNA in CODIS. The North Carolina woman testified against Gonzalez in Ventura County.

Gonzalez will be extradited to North Carolina, where he will be tried in that rape.

Riley told Gonzalez that he will be on parole for the rest of his life if he is released from prison.

After the sentencing, Jenson said Gonzalez, who is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, more than likely will face deportation.

"By that time, he'll be a very old man. The taxpayers in the United States will be paying for Mr. Gonzalez's upkeep for the rest of his life, potentially," Jenson said.