Alleged SRJC rape trial approaches

William Rohrs, News Editor

The trial for alleged rapist Marco Deanda-Vargas will begin later in January following pre-trial hearings of potential witnesses.

An SRJC student reported being raped on the night of March 15 by Deanda-Vargas, who reportedly knew the victim, in the Quinn swim center.

After reporting the incident, the woman submitted to a Suspected Abuse Response Team (SART) test. At Deanda-Vargas’ preliminary hearing, the test results were stricken from the record, as official results were unavailable for viewing.

Deanda-Vargas is charged with sodomy by use of force, rape by force or fear, sexual penetration against the victim’s will, possessing stolen property valued at $400 and possession of burglary tools.

Defense attorney Joseph Bisbiglia is requesting a 402 hearing for several testimonial sources. The 402 is a procedure the court will use to interview sources prior to the trial to ensure the sources will provide admissible evidence.

Bisbiglia is requesting the testimony of the nurse who conducted the SART test because Bisbiglia wants to ensure the testimony was not prejudiced.

Judge Robert La Forge arranged for the 402 hearings to start Jan. 23. Including time for jury selection, the trial will take between seven to nine days to organize.

Assistant District Attorney Barbara Nanney could not comment on whether she expected a conviction, but during the hearing she said there is no chance of a plea bargain. Nanney said the sentence for a single count of rape is eight years, but multiple counts can be much higher.