Archive for Tuesday, January 9, 1996

LAWRENCE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO RAPE

January 9, 1996

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A 22-year-old Lawrence man accused of raping a 17-year-old Lawrence girl at her home and of trying to rape a Lawrence woman in a downtown parking lot pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple felony charges.

Ruben R. Lucero pleaded guilty to rape, attempted rape and aggravated burglary in an agreement with the Douglas County district attorney's office. Two aggravated burglary charges and one charge of aggravated battery were dropped, Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney Tonkovich said.

A jury trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday morning. The victims in the attacks had already testified at a preliminary hearing last fall.

Lucero is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 30. He faces a maximum sentence of 17 years and two months in prison.

The rape occurred in the early-morning hours July 12 at a house in northern Lawrence. According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, Lucero entered the back screen door of the home and attacked a girl who was sleeping on a couch.

Lucero claimed to know the girl's brother during the attack. She testified that she did not know her attacker.

The attempted rape occurred after 2 a.m. July 27 in a parking lot on the east side of Vermont, between 10th and 11th streets. Lucero was chased by several pedestrians after attacking a Lawrence man and a woman at a parked car.

Lucero slammed a metal chair over the head of the man, who had walked the woman to her car. The two friends, neither of whom knew Lucero, had just left a downtown bar, according to court testimony.

Lucero leaned into the car and tugged at the woman's clothes but was scared away by the woman's cries for help. Passersby chased Lucero into nearby South Park and corralled him to wait for police, headquartered less than a block away.

Lucero was arrested that night and placed in custody for aggravated battery and attempted rape. He was linked to the earlier crime after police questioned him.

Lucero is being held in Douglas County Jail.

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