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A jury has found a Medford, Oregon, man guilty of multiple sex crimes following a trial in which the victim was lodged in jail for nine days to ensure she’d testify in court.
A jury found Christian Alexander Sanchez, 30, guilty last week of more than a dozen felony crimes between February and September 2020, including rape, sodomy, kidnapping, coercion, assault and weapon use, the Mail Tribune reported.
The crimes involved one female victim, now 20, who was reportedly held against her will. Sanchez used weapons against the woman that included a hammer, a lighter and a screwdriver, according to filings by the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.
“It was a horrific situation,” Deputy District Attorney Nick Geil, who prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Zori Cook, told the newspaper.
The woman was in the Jackson County Jail Sept. 6-15 on a material witness hold, court and jail records show. The trial was Sept. 13-16.
Oregon Revised Statute 146.608 allows a district attorney or defendant to apply for a material witness hold when they believe the witness has “information material to the determination of the action against the defendant” and “will not appear at the time when attendance of the witness is required.”
Judge Lorenzo Mejia ordered the woman detained until Sanchez’s trial ended based on a motion filed by Cook.
Mejia and Cook each said the material witness hold was unusual but necessary. Cook said the woman struggles with addiction and can be difficult to locate. The victim’s family also supported holding the victim/witness in jail, records show.
The victim’s lawyer, Donald Scales, requested an ankle bracelet but the judge said the county’s ankle bracelet program is more effective at showing someone is out of compliance than locating someone.
The jury convicted Sanchez Friday of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, three counts of second-degree assault, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, coercion, causing a person to ingest a controlled substance and two counts of fourth-degree assault constituting domestic violence.
Sanchez will be sentenced Oct. 6. Mejia ordered Sanchez to remain in jail without bail until sentencing.
Sanchez was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to six years in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty to sex crimes involving adolescent girls.