A Santa Ana man who broke into five Orange County homes and sexually assaulted two girls, ages 11 and 13, was sentenced today to 30 years to life in prison.
Roberto Jacobo Reyes, 50, did not make any statement as Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey handed down the defendant’s punishment.
When Reyes was convicted in November, he blurted out, “I’d rather die than be stuck in jail for 25 years.”
Reyes was convicted of one count of committing a forcible lewd act on a child younger than 14, two felony counts of lewd acts on a child younger than 14 and three felony counts of first-degree residential burglary.
Jurors also found true sentence-enhancing allegations for committing lewd acts during a residential burglary and a 2003 prior strike for residential burglary.
The prosecutor on the case said Reyes’ behavior escalated over time, and that he was justly convicted.
Reyes’ attorney, Dolores Yost of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, said after her client’s conviction that his son died of cancer while he was in custody.
About 11 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2010, Reyes broke into the Santa Ana bedroom of an 11-year-old girl and held her down, covering her mouth as he fondled her, according to Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman.
When the girl managed to wriggle free, the defendant fled back out the window.
Investigators found a match for Reyes’ DNA in the home, Mestman said. He said Reyes’ DNA was in the system as a result of the 2003 burglary, in which he also tried to molest a female victim, Mestman said.
About 1 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2010, Reyes broke into the home of a slumbering 13-year-old girl and rubbed her body, Mestman said. When the girl awoke and screamed, Reyes ran out a back door, the prosecutor said.
The previous year, he reached through a window and touched the foot of a 22-year-old woman and broke into the bedroom of a 19-year-old woman, both in Santa Ana, according to Mestman.
He also entered the bedroom a 7-year-old girl shared with two younger siblings and tickled her, according to Mestman.
Reyes served four years in prison for the 2003 conviction and was then deported to Mexico. He returned to the U.S. illegally, the prosecutor added.
Yost argued that Reyes did not commit four of the burglaries for his sexual arousal.
When questioned by police about one of the break-ins, Reyes said he had done others, but not for sexual reasons, which prompted investigators to widen their probe, Mestman said.