Los Angeles

Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Raping Two Teens Gets 100 Years to Life in Prison

A man convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting two 15-year-old girls about three weeks apart last year in Lancaster repeatedly lashed out Tuesday at a judge who sentenced him to 100 years to life in state prison.

In comments that were interrupted by outbursts from Joseph Kenneth Cornett, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Henry J. Hall said a "monster" had been stopped and he wanted the two teens to know that "none of this is their fault."

"It's Mr. Cornett's fault," Hall said.

Cornett repeatedly broke in as the judge spoke, saying at one point, "Call me a monster. You're a monster."

As statements were read from the victims and one of their mothers about the impact of the attacks, Cornett maintained, "I didn't rape nobody ... I never kidnapped nobody ... I was high on PCP. They got in the car on their own."

At another point, he told the judge, "Stop talking ... Come on with the double-life sentences, man ... so I don't have to be around this no more."

One of the victims addressed the defendant in a statement read in court on her behalf.

"You raped me. You took away my freedom," she said.

The other victim called Cornett a "bad person" and said she will not let the crime "drive me down."

Cornett's sentencing had repeatedly been delayed. He was forcibly extracted from his jail cell this morning and brought to court on a stretcher in handcuffs.

Cornett was found guilty March 24 of two counts each of forcible rape, committing a lewd act on a child and kidnapping to commit rape, along with one count each of sexual penetration by a foreign object, assault with intent to commit rape, assault with intent to commit sodomy, assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, furnishing marijuana to a minor and possession of PCP.

Jurors also convicted him of seven counts of resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer.

Deputy District Attorney told jurors "the defendant is nothing more than a serial rapist" who attacked one of the victims after she accepting a ride from him on April 13, 2015, and targeted the other teen while she walking home from school last May 6.

Investigators tied the Lancaster man to the unsolved rape case from April following his arrest in connection with the attack in May.

The victim of the earlier attack had run away from home and ducked into a garage where she encountered Cornett and two other men, Hatami said. Cornett offered to drive the teen home, but instead took her "all the way out into the desert ... pulled her into the dirt and he raped her," the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor told jurors that Cornett then told the girl, "Let's do this again. And this time, let's do it right, with no screaming," before raping her again.

Hatami acknowledged that the teen smoked marijuana provided to her by Cornett and that she had run away from home, but said "that didn't mean she deserved to be raped."

The girl who was attacked in May was walking home from school when Cornett stopped his car and told her she could be arrested for jaywalking.

Cornett "promised to take her home" but instead drove her to an abandoned trailer, ordered her to get out of the car and assaulted her, according to Hatami.

The girl "pleaded with the defendant to let her go" and then ran out of the trailer without any pants, underwear or shoes when he wasn't looking, the prosecutor said.

The girl sought help from a motorist, who called 911 while others nearby rushed to the scene and some confronted Cornett. The bystanders chased Cornett, who jumped into his car, which ultimately got stuck in a sandy ditch.

When Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies arrived, "he resisted ... grabbed one of the deputies ... (and) had to be Tased, I believe, three times," Hatami said.

The prosecution was barred during the trial from introducing any evidence about Cornett's alleged admission that he was HIV-positive. The judge said he believed that Cornett had falsely made that claim.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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