A 50-year-old ex-con who abducted and sexually assaulted a Riverside woman a quarter-century ago was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in state prison.
Ralph Leslie Kroll of Eastvale pleaded guilty last month to forcible rape and kidnapping as part of a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office. In exchange for his admissions, prosecutors dropped several sentence-enhancing allegations.
Superior Court Judge O.G. Magno certified the plea deal and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.
"With the type of charges my client was facing, he made a decision that it was in his best interest to resolve the case for the eight-year sentence, rather than possibly face life in prison,'' defense attorney Nic Cocis told City News Service.
Cocis asserted that even though Kroll admitted guilt, the defendant "could not remember where he was'' at the time of the attack in October 1995, and he has continued to deny the allegations.
Kroll did not address the court during the sentencing, nor did the victim.
Cocis submitted a motion in July to dismiss all charges based on discovery that much of the evidence tied to the crime had been "destroyed.''
"Recorded interviews with witnesses were gone, crime scene photos were gotten rid of at some point,'' the attorney said. "I also cited the fact that the Riverside Police Department was informed by the state of a DNA hit on Mr. Kroll going back to 2006, but yet the case remained dormant for the next 14 years.''
Magno did not find the basis for the motion compelling, however, and rejected it.
RPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the disposition of the forensic evidence.
Kroll was arrested in August 2020 following an investigation by the department's Cold Case Unit.
Agency spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback said at the time detectives had received confirmation that DNA connected to the Oct. 8, 1995, assault had been screened for possible matches in the state's crime database, and Kroll was identified as a contributor of the genetic material.
A warrant was obtained for his arrest, and the ex-con was taken into custody without incident at his Eastvale residence.
The assault occurred in the 8800 block of Indiana Avenue. Railsback said that the then-18-year-old victim was grabbed and forcibly taken to an apartment complex, where she was briefly held and sexually assaulted.
The young woman did not know or recognize her assailant.
After he fled, the victim went to police to report the assault, according to Railsback, who said that efforts to identify the perpetrator at the time proved futile. However, evidence was preserved for analysis.
According to court records, Kroll has a prior conviction for armed robbery.