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There was emotional testimony from three young Latinas in the Vista courthouse on October 11 as they described a night of rape, attempted robbery, and burglary in separate incidents that occurred in Escondido last May.

Hugo Elmer Garcia, now 19, is accused of raping and robbing a young woman who was working alone in a shop on East Valley Parkway at about 5 p.m. on May 18, 2011.

Garcia took the woman’s car keys and drove away in her white Ford Expedition. He used the stolen vehicle later that night in a robbery attempt at an Escondido check-cashing business, according to testimony.

Garcia reportedly brandished a chrome .22 revolver during the crimes. The gun was reported stolen from the home of Garcia’s girlfriend’s grandparents, according to Escondido police detective John O’Donnell. Escondido police recovered the loaded weapon from Garcia’s pants after he was stopped in the stolen vehicle at about 9:30 p.m. the same night as the crime spree.

In a recorded interview with detectives, Garcia allegedly admitted some of his crimes, according to O’Donnell. Garcia is reportedly from El Salvador, according to a JURIS criminal history report, and his case is flagged for immigration review.

Judge Steven Stone ordered Garcia to face nine felony charges and bail remains at $2 million.

Pictured: Hugo Elmer Garcia

Photo credit: Bob Weatherston

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