LOS ANGELES A state appeals court panel on Friday upheld a man’s conviction for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was grabbed by her ponytail while she was walking to school in Lancaster nearly three years ago.
A three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the trial court erred by allowing jurors in Charles Delshawn James’ trial to hear what the teenager told an examining nurse at Antelope Valley Hospital after the Dec. 13, 2012, attack.
In a nine-page ruling, the appellate court justices noted that jurors also heard “far more detail about her assault” during the victim’s testimony than what was related through the nurse, and that both accounts were consistent.
“Thus, excluding the challenged testimony would have had no effect whatsoever on the evidentiary landscape,” the panel found.
James, now 33, grabbed the girl by her ponytail and dragged her into some bushes, where he sodomized her on Dec. 13, 2012, according to testimony. He threatened during the attack to kill the girl and her family if she said anything, Deputy District Attorney Keri Knittel said after the verdict.
Forensic evidence led police to James, who was arrested in South Carolina days after the attack.
He was convicted in May 2014 of kidnapping for sodomy, forcible sodomy of a minor, lewd act on a child, attempted sexual penetration by a foreign object and dissuading a witness by force or threat.
Jurors also found true the allegations of kidnapping a minor and aggravated kidnapping.
In June 2014, James was sentenced to 82 years to life in state prison.
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