A state appeals court on Thursday upheld the convictions and 50-year sentence of a San Francisco man found guilty of kidnapping and raping two women in the city’s South of Market district in 1998.
Larry White, 52, was arrested and charged with the crimes seven years later, in 2005, as a result of a 2003 match of his DNA with samples taken from the victims, according to the court ruling.
He was convicted in San Francisco Superior Court in 2008 of kidnapping and raping a homeless woman in January 1998 and raping, kidnapping for purpose of rape and kidnapping for purpose of robbery of a 21-year-old Japanese tourist in December 1998.
Judge Carol Yaggy sentenced him to 50 years to life in prison.
According to evidence at the trial, the Japanese tourist had decided to spend an extra night in San Francisco before flying to Los Angeles and when unable to find lodging, sat down and slept against a building at Kearny and Market streets.
At 2 a.m., she was accosted by White and an unidentified second man. White told her it was dangerous to sleep on the street and told her to come with him, grabbing her arm and pulling her to her feet.
The victim testified that she was afraid and wanted to run away, but feared she would be unable to outrun him. After the second man left, White took her to a parking lot where he beat, raped and robbed her, according to the Court of Appeal ruling.
In his appeal, White challenged only the two kidnapping convictions related to the Japanese victim.
Kidnapping is defined in state law as compelling a person to move either through physical force or through use of fear.
White contended the incident shouldn’t qualify as kidnapping because prosecutors hadn’t proved that the victim’s fear was reasonable under the circumstances.
A three-judge appeals panel in San Francisco unanimously rejected that claim, saying that all of the factors influencing the victim showed her fear to be objectively reasonable.
Justice Mark Simons wrote, “It was reasonable for (the) victim to fear harm from a pair of strangers accosting her at 2 a.m. with one insisting, in a harsh tone and with the use of physical force, that she come with them after she failed to comply.”
Simons wrote that the tourist reasonably feared that if she did not comply with White’s demand to accompany him, “she would be subject to harm, injury or forced compliance.”