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Jury will decide fate of Jeremy Stutzman

VISTA — A jury must decide whether Jeremy Ryan Stutzman, 34, is guilty of the multiple felony charges including rape, kidnapping, carjacking, assault, burglary, four special allegations and more, which allegedly took place between two apartments at 2130 South Santa Fe Drive.The defendant was wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet during the alleged attacks, which was a requirement of his parole after serving prison time for a 2001 sexual violence conviction.“Personal use of a knife, false imprisonment by violence, making criminal threats, sexual battery by restraint — you were placed on parole for the convictions in that case, isn’t that right?” Prosecutor Patrick Espinoza asked Stutzman as the defendant testified at his own trial earlier in the week.

Stutzman’s prior conviction has similarities to the current allegations, including the victims allegedly being bound and gagged and forced by knifepoint to model lingerie.

The two victims in his current court trial are best friends. The 19-year-old victim who said she was raped by Stutzman lived in an apartment above his.

She testified that she knew Stutzman as an acquaintance for about three months while he helped her get methamphetamine through one of his friends.

The other victim, a 20-year-old woman, had recently begun staying at her friend’s apartment but had not met Stutzman until the day of the alleged attacks.

Stutzman testified that he and the two women had used drugs together on May 30, 2011, and that they all took turns restraining each other in consensual sadomasochistic acts.

The 19-year-old victim told the court that Stutzman came to her apartment for the first time the day of the attacks to look at furniture for sale and party with the women on their last day there before moving out.

The women testified that Stutzman lured them apart and forced the 19-year-old with a long-bladed knife to make a phone call to her 20-year-old friend to invite her downstairs to his apartment.

Stutzman is accused of separating the girls between the two apartments after raping the 19-year-old, and Espinoza told the jury in his closing statements on April 4 that when the girls became separated it inflicted additional emotional stress on them.

The 19-year-old victim testified that she had broken free from her multiple bindings while she was left alone in her own apartment.

The 20-year-old victim said that she was kidnapped by Stutzman at the time her friend escaped and ran for help. She said he forced her into her friend’s vehicle and drove around for hours — stopping once at a secluded wooded area and eventually renting a motel room.

Stutzman had cut off his GPS bracelet, which he admitted in court.

At 11:13 p.m., a 911 call was made by a neighbor after the 19-year-old woman had escaped, which is about the same time the GPS monitor recorded Stutzman leaving the apartment’s premises, allegedly with the other victim in his captivity, according to Espinoza.

The defendant let the 20-year-old victim go at about 9 a.m. the next morning when he released her in front of their apartment complex, according to testimony.

A timeline presented by the prosecutor shows that the kidnapping of the victims began nearly 12 hours prior, at 9:35 p.m.

Stutzman’s attorney, Matthew Roberts, San Diego County public defender, said in his closing statements to the jury that the 19-year-old victim was caught stealing money from Stutzman’s apartment and told Stutzman that she was calling police to say that he raped her after she was caught.

Stutzman cut off his bracelet and drove around with the other female, who was a willing participant, Roberts said, so the drug high would wear off and the truth could hopefully come out that the acts were consensual and that the 19-year-old victim stole money and lied about the rape.

But the visibly shaken women each said they did not agree to model any lingerie or perform any sex acts with Stutzman, and that he forced them with a large hunting-type knife.

Stutzman faces up to 300 years to life in prison, according Espinoza.