(August 10, 2004) -- A Long Beach Superior Court jury has determined Mark Wayne Rathbun was the Belmont Shore/Eastside rapist and convicted him of burglarizing and, in most cases, raping 14 women ranging in age from 39 to 77 years of age.
The L.A. County D.A.'s office said the Superior Court jury deliberated a little more than three days before linking Rathbun, 34, of LB to crimes that terrorized women in LB and parts of nearby OC for five years.
LB Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani ordered Rathbun back to custody without bail. He faces multiple life sentences when he returned to court on Sept. 15.
L.A. County Deputy D.A. Richard Goul noted in a release that women in the area changed their lifestyles and lived in fear because of the series of rapes involving nearly three dozen victims between 1997 and 2002.
The case hinged on DNA...and the break in the case came in early November 2002 when savvy LBPD officers detained Rathbun after they sealed off a neighborhood following the attempted assault of a woman. Rathbun agreed to submit a DNA sample and was released. The Sheriff’s Crime Lab matched Rathbun’s DNA to the Belmont Shore rapes...and Rathbun was arrested in less than a week and returned to Long Beach where he has remained in custody since then.
The D.A.'s office says prior to next month's sentencing, the judge also will make a determination on prior convictions of residential burglary and false imprisonment in 1989. If the judge determines Rathbun is the person who was convicted of the crimes, it would add even more time on his sentence, the D.A.'s office says.
The jury convicted Rathbun of 14 counts of residential burglary and 25 counts of forcible rape. The remainder of the charges on which he was convicted ranged from assault to sexual assault. The jury acquitted Rathbun on three counts involving an Aug. 4, 1999, attack on the oldest victim, who was 77 when attacked...but convicted him of four counts involving the same victim who was attacked again on Aug. 21, 1999. Deputy D.A. Goul said the victim was too ashamed to report the first assault and there was no DNA evidence; the case relied heavily on DNA evidence since the rapist always covered his face and his victims could not identify him.
Most of the victims were in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach. Two of the victims in the current case were from OC (Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos) and Rathbun was convicted on all counts involving those victims, who were attacked in June 2000 and May 2002.