Los Angeles

Man Convicted in Northridge Kidnapping, Rape Trial

Prosecutors say Tobias Summers threatened a 10-year-old girl with a knife and then repeatedly sexually assaulted her in his car, a storage yard, a drainage tunnel and a vacant house.

A Southern California man was convicted on Friday of kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old girl in the San Fernando Valley, before releasing her and fleeing to Mexico.

Tobias Summers had pleaded not guilty to 38 counts in the case, including sexual assault, sodomy, kidnapping, and burglary.

Jurors announced a guilty verdict Los Angeles County Superior Court Friday morning. The 34-year-old shook his head as the verdicts were read, while the girl's family breathed a heavy sigh and wiped away tears.

"He’ll be shackled in full waist chains and leg chains. In addition — and I want the deputies in this court to understand what I'm saying — I am ordering a black box on those shackles so he cannot slip out of those chains," LA Superior Court Judge Ronald Cohen said.

Prosecutors say Summers kidnapped the girl, who is now 13 years old, from her Northridge bedroom in the early-morning hours of March 27, 2013.

In closing arguments Monday, Deputy District Attorney Laura Knight told jurors that Summers chose the house at random, threatened the girl with a knife and then repeatedly sexually assaulted her in his car, a storage yard, a drainage tunnel and a vacant house.

Summers used a belt as a weapon and a restraint, the prosecutor alleged. The girl was found near a Starbucks 12 hours after she was kidnapped.

Defense attorney Jeff Yanuck countered that there was no credible DNA evidence that Summers was involved in any sexual assault and that the girl first told police that Summers was a man who had helped her, dropping her off at a hospital.

Summers' attorney suggested that it was someone else who assaulted the girl and that his client had saved her.

The girl testified during the trial, telling jurors that she was led from her home in the dark and told to get into a car being driven by another man, who got out of the vehicle after her assailant said he was going to drop her off at a fire station.

"Were you scared?" the prosecutor asked.

"Yes," the girl responded.

A small amount of DNA on the girl's face was tested and found to be male. Summers could not be excluded as a contributor, while DNA on her shorts was "found consistent with the defendant," the prosecutor said.

Summers was arrested a month later in a drug and alcohol treatment facility in a tiny village on the coast of Mexico between Tijuana and Ensenada. Summers checked into the facility under a false name, but police said they identified him from a Superman logo tattooed on his chest.

Authorities said at the time of the kidnapping that they believed Summers broke into the girl's home planning to burglarize it but instead abducted her at knife point.

City News Service and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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