A 54-year-old Oxnard man was convicted of kidnapping to rape a young woman he had shoved into his trunk, officials announced Thursday.
The kidnapping happened in August 2021, when James Lewis Apodaca saw a 20-year-old woman near a liquor store in Ojai, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
“He took her cell phone, shoved her in the trunk of his car, and drove away,” officials said.
While trapped in the trunk, the woman spotted an emergency trunk release, pulled it, got out and signaled for help.
Numerous people had seen what had happened and notified law enforcement. The woman was rescued, uninjured.
A deputy later found Apodaca and conducted a traffic stop, but the suspect ran into the yard of a nearby home and armed himself with a metal pole, the DA said.
“He brandished the pole and used it to assault the deputy,” officials said.
The man was eventually taken into custody and found in possession of methamphetamine.
This week, a jury convicted Apodaca of kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, and also found him guilty of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, brandishing a deadly weapon to resist arrest and possession of a controlled substance.
The jury also found numerous sentence enhancements true. Apodaca had previously admitted convictions for prior serious and violent felony strike offenses.
Apodaca is scheduled to be sentenced on July 22 at Ventura County Superior Court.
He faces a maximum sentence of 126 years to life in prison, and a consecutive determinate term of six years in prison, authorities said.