SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A transient who beat and raped a woman he had just met near Old Town, then stole her belongings, was convicted Tuesday of forcible rape, robbery and false imprisonment.
Jurors, however, acquitted 22-year-old Michael Tesfa of kidnapping for rape.
Tesfa faces a maximum of 13 years and eight months in state prison when he is sentenced March 7.
In her closing argument Monday, Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth McClutchey told the jury that Tesfa dragged the victim from a streetside bench on Pacific Highway to a dirty, urine-soaked alcove behind Perry's Cafe where homeless people hang out.
"It was scary. It was dangerous," the prosecutor said.
McClutchey said Tesfa beat and sexually assaulted the victim, then stole her clothes and personal items.
Police arrested him in a nearby riverbed a short time later.
"When police rolled up on him, he took off like a rabbit," the prosecutor said.
Tesfa, who represented himself, told the jury that the woman wanted to meet somebody and was lying about being raped to "make me look bad."
The defendant said there were no witnesses to the incident, which happened last March 18.
The 30-year-old victim testified at a previous hearing that she was sitting on a bench in front of the cafe -- which was closed -- drinking wine that she had purchased at a local store when Tesfa came up and asked what she was drinking.
The woman said Tesfa was pleasant at first and she shared some wine and let him give her a brief kiss. She said she flirted with the defendant a little, but he became annoying and as she started to leave, he grabbed her arm and took her to the dark alcove behind the cafe, where she was shoved to the ground, beaten and raped.
According to court testimony, Tesfa's DNA was found in samples taken from the victim.
Tesfa -- who said he was homeless -- testified that he was under the influence of alcohol when he and the victim had consensual sex.
"She came on to me," he said. "I guess you gotta get what you can get."
He said the woman didn't seemed satisfied following the encounter and started screaming, so he scooped up her property and took off running.
McClutchey told the jury that Tesfa's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.0 percent five hours after the assault.
Investigators say 54-year-old Peter Chadwick killed his wife back in 2012 and disappeared while he was free on bond in 2015. Now they're hoping a new reward and podcast series will help lead to his capture.
A judge in Pasadena on Wednesday dismissed 10 felony charges against a so-called "Dine-and-Dash Dater" who was accused of walking out on checks while on first dates with numerous women at Southland restaurants.
The City of Santee has formed a new committee to tackle issues stemming from highway 52. Residents say ever since the extension from the 125 to the 67 opened several years ago traffic in the city has gotten steadily worse.
A bill giving cities in San Diego County and the county itself the authority to establish a neighborhood electric vehicle transportation plan was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The 14th annual Mama's Pies Thanksgiving Bake Sale will run from Oct. 8 through Nov. 19 and include two dozen local bakers, it was announced Wednesday.
Six more women may be victims of sexual assault by a prominent orthopedic surgeon who was featured in a TV reality dating show, and his girlfriend, authorities said Wednesday.
A group of San Diego-based federal, state and local officials on Wednesday announced their support for Measure G, the SDSU West Initiative, and their opposition to Measure E, the SoccerCity initiative.
A San Diego couple says they are heartbroken after their family pet was attacked by another dog at a park in Allied Gardens over the weekend. The couple's dog is in critical condition and News 8 has learned this isn’t the first incident at the park involving the same dogs.
After a season-opening loss against Stanford, suddenly the San Diego State University Aztec football team could make it three wins in a row on Saturday night when they host Eastern Michigan. News 8's John Howard has a preview of the game from SDCCU Stadium.
Think for a moment about who your best friend is; now consider if you could open a nonprofit organization with that friend to help the world. What would it be?