A man pleaded not guilty on Friday to violently raping a woman in a brazen assault caught on surveillance video at a Santa Ana bus stop last month.
Erick Alvarez Hernandez, 27, of Santa Ana, was arraigned on charges of forcible rape, kidnapping to commit a sex offense, forcible oral copulation and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, according to court officials.
The defendant was charged by Orange County prosecutors on Jan. 14 following an investigation into the Jan. 5 attack.
The 52-year-old victim was waiting at a covered bus stop outside the MacArthur Village condo complex at 1000 W. MacArthur Blvd. when Hernandez allegedly approached her from behind and, without exchanging any words, wrapped his arms around her neck and pulled her to a secluded area.
He then proceeded to physically and sexually assault her, according to investigators.
An Orange County transit bus pulled up to the bus station during the attack and was able to capture video evidence that shows the perpetrator wearing a blue Dallas Cowboys jersey with the number 82.
Police said Hernandez was found to be in possession of an identical jersey when he was arrested Jan. 10.
Detectives said they were able to identify the 27-year-old as a suspect in part because of his “belligerent behavior” at a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings the night of the assault.
In addition to the four felony charges, prosecutors are seeking a sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury to a sexual assault victim, as well as sentencing enhancement allegations for kidnapping and inflicting great bodily injury, the district attorney’s office said.
Hernandez is expected to return to court Feb. 20 for a pretrial hearing.
If convicted as charged, he could face up to 41 years to life in state prison.
He was being held on $1 million bail at the Central Men’s Jail, inmate records show.