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GRAND JURY INDICTS SANCHEZ CHARGES INCLUDE MEGAN BARROSO MURDER, SEXUAL ASSAULTS, CARJACKING.

Byline: Cecilia Chan Staff Writer

The Ventura County grand jury on Tuesday indicted accused serial rapist Vincent Sanchez on 79 felony counts against 15 victims, including the kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old Megan Barroso.

Sanchez, 30, an unemployed Simi Valley handyman, faces arraignment today on the charges, which include 104 special allegations and three special circumstances.

Sanchez faces life in prison without parole or death if convicted of murdering Barroso - whose body was found a month after she disappeared July 5 - and 42 consecutive life terms on the charges involving the other victims, officials said.

``Our hearts go out to the many victims in this case and to their families and loved ones who have been affected so significantly by the crimes that occurred at Mr. Sanchez's hands,'' Assistant District Attorney Greg Totten said at a news conference.

The indictment accuses Sanchez - who is being held without bail - of 46 sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults; 11 residential burglaries with the intent of committing a sexual assault; and three counts of carjacking. Sanchez also is alleged to have used a weapon - a gun or knife - during the crimes.

One of the victims was a 20-year-old woman abducted off the streets of Woodland Hills on July 9 - four days after Barroso disappeared. According to the indictment, she was taken to Sanchez's rented home in Simi Valley, where she was assaulted and robbed.

The indictment also included three special circumstances that could make Sanchez eligible for the death penalty if he is convicted: murder during the commission of a kidnapping, murder during the commission of kidnapping with the specific intent to kill and murder during the commission or attempted commission of rape of Barroso.

However, Totten said it will take up to three months for prosecutors to determine whether they will seek the death penalty.

Police have identified Sanchez as the serial rapist who terrorized the city of Simi Valley for five years. He was in custody last month on an unrelated residential burglary charge when his roommates discovered women's clothing and sexually explicit videotapes in a trash bag that Sanchez asked them to discard.

While investigating the rapes, police discovered evidence they said linked him to Barroso, including a jacket they said belonged to the Moorpark woman.

The indictment replaces a more lengthy preliminary hearing process, allowing officials to proceed directly with a trial, officials said.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 5, 2001
Words:400
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