by Seth Hemmelgarn / email@example.com
The man suspected of murdering a transgender woman in San Francisco more than two years ago has been found guilty of several charges related to the rape of another transgender woman.
The March 2007 murder of Ruby Ordenana is still under investigation, but Donzell Francis, 41, could face 15 years in prison for charges related to the rape of another transgender woman in 2007.
Michael Swart, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Francis in the recent trial, said the district attorney's office is presently reviewing the Ordenana case. Sergeant Wilfred Williams, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department, said the case is still under investigation.
"Now that the jury has convicted the defendant of committing his atrocities against the victim" whose case was the subject of the recent trial, "the DA's office is looking forward to charging the defendant with the serial rapes of several other transgender women in San Francisco, including the rape/murder of one such victim," Brian Buckelew, director of legal affairs and public information for the district attorney's office, wrote in an e-mail to the Bay Area Reporter .
On Wednesday, December 23, a jury found Francis guilty of one count of forcible oral copulation, robbery, assault causing great bodily injury, and false imprisonment.
The jury acquitted Francis of sodomy, two counts of forcible oral copulation, and one count of kidnapping.
The charges against Francis included sodomy by use of force, using a dangerous weapon (a knife), and tying/binding the victim.
DNA that had been recovered in the Ordenana case hadn't been processed until nearly two years later. The evidence was matched with Francis, whom law enforcement officials suspect went on to assault three transgender women after killing Ordenana. Her legal first name was Rudy.
Lena H., the victim whose case was at the heart of last month's jury trial, was one of those women. She survived the attack. Her name is not being released.
Erwin Fredrich, who represented Francis in the trial, did not return a call for comment on the trial.
Aside from the Ordenana murder, the DA's office is also reviewing two other uncharged cases in which Francis is a suspect: the rape of a non-transgender woman in December 2007, and the rape of a transgender woman known as Vanessa V. in February 2008.
Vanessa V. testified in the Lena H. trial, where evidence from her case was also used to show Francis's propensity to commit sexual assaults.
In addition, he was suspected of raping another transgender woman in September 2007. That case had to be dismissed after the alleged victim returned to her home country.
Francis was charged with the 1997 rape of a lesbian. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of abduction/procurement by fraudulent inducement for prostitution and received three years probation in 1997, according to the district attorney's office.
DNA evidence has linked Francis to all five of the women, not including the 1997 rape case, according to the DA's office.
Records from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation show Francis has previously served time in prison.
In 2002, he began a five-year sentence for a domestic-violence related offense. He was paroled in July 2006, then returned to prison again in June 2008, records indicate. He was paroled again in April 2009.
He is currently being held in San Francisco county jail. His bail has been revoked.
Francis is expected to be sentenced in the Lena H. case January 25 in San Francisco Superior Court.