SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man accused of kidnapping a 21-year-old German exchange student in Pacific Beach on New Year's Day and raping her at knifepoint in his truck must stand trial on felony charges, a judge ruled Thursday.
Jacob Paul Skorniak, 50, is charged with forcible rape and kidnapping to commit rape. He faces 65 years to life in prison if convicted.
Witness Michael Kimbell testified that he had just picked up his roommate after getting off work about 2:30 a.m when he stopped for gas at a Chevron station on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.
Kimbell said a young woman in a truck at another gas pump motioned to him to come closer, telling him that a man inside the gas station convenience store had kidnapped her and wouldn't let her go.
The witness testified that he didn't know if what he saw was real or not, but told his roommate to call 911.
Kimbell said he saw a man come out of the store, pump some gas, and drive onto Interstate 805. He said he didn't follow the truck -- which had Colorado license plates -- because the police told him not to do so.
San Diego police Officer Geoffrey Kaiser testified that he responded to a 911 call about 1:50 a.m. from three of the victim's friends who hadn't seen her for awhile.
The four exchange students had been to a bar on Mission Boulevard and later used the Uber ridehailing service to get to another bar on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach.
While talking to the women outside their apartment on Sapphire Street, Kaiser said he saw a truck -- matching the description of the vehicle reported in Kimbell's 911 call -- drive by.
The officer said he and another patrol unit went looking for the suspect's truck, but were unsuccessful.
Kaiser testified that he went back to the women's apartment, and the victim was there, upset and distraught. The officer said the victim's black dress and leggings were torn or ripped.
The officer said the victim told him that she wasn't feeling that great when she and her friends took the Uber from the first bar to the second bar, and decided to continue on home.
Sgt. Rich Forsey testified that one of the victim's roommates told him she got a call from the victim's sister after the three women went into the second bar. The victim's sister said she had gotten a call from her sister and was concerned about her, the roommate told Forsey.
The next day, Forsey got a call from the victim's father in Germany, saying he had gotten an unusual call -- possibly a pocket call -- from his daughter the night before.
The father said he overheard his daughter saying "take what you want'' and "leave me alive,'' and sounds like she was being assaulted, according to Forsey.
The father said the phone went dead and he tried re-dialing about 20 times, but kept getting connected to voicemail.
The victim later told Forsey that she drank a gin and tonic, a couple of shots of tequila, and shared a bottle of wine with her friends the night she was attacked.
She had no recollection of getting out of the Uber sedan and into the defendant's truck, Forsey said.
She alleged the suspect had a knife and took her to a rural area, where he cut off her dress and leggings and raped her. She said she let the assault happen because the suspect had a knife and she was fearful of what he might do, Forsey testified.
Forsey said the victim could feel her phone vibrating and ringing during the attack, but couldn't answer it.
She told the sergeant that Skorniak was apologetic and remorseful after the rape and offered to take her home, the sergeant testified.
Skorniak told the victim that he had just gotten out of prison and couldn't go back, Forsey said. The defendant told her that he was going to drive off a bridge and that she would hear about him on the news the next day, according to the sergeant.
Forsey said the Uber driver who dropped the victim's roommates off at the bar planned to drive her home, but she started to get sick three blocks from her apartment and got out of his car. The Uber driver told police that he tried to get her back into his sedan, but he could not.
Skorniak was arrested at a campground at Refugio State Beach near Santa Barbara on Jan. 21. Authorities found a knife in the defendant's truck and a memory card with a video showing what appears to be the defendant sexually assaulting the victim, who looked to be passed out, Forsey testified.
Prosecutors said Skorniak has a significant criminal history dating back to the 1980s, including convictions for burglary, robbery and escape.
Judge Louis Hanoian found that enough evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing, for the defendant to proceed to trial. He set a Dec. 1 readiness conference and April 7 trial date.
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