Deliberations begin in Oakland rape and torture trial


OAKLAND (BCN) — Jurors on Tuesday began deliberating the fate of a convicted murderer and two other men who are accused of kidnapping, raping and torturing a woman in Oakland three years ago after she said she didn’t want to work for them as a prostitute.

The woman, who is 20 now but was 17 at the time, testified when the trial began on Aug. 24 that she began working as a prostitute after she ran away from home at the age of 15 and knew the men accused of attacking her but didn’t want to work for them.

The woman said she had a sexual relationship with one of the men, 24-year-old Jason Beasley, but on June 3, 2013, Beasley, 30-year-old Paul Booker and 27-year-old Ruben Mitchell kidnapped her after she told Beasley that she didn’t want to go out of town with him to work for him as a prostitute.

Booker, Beasley and Mitchell are charged with kidnapping to commit a sex crime, torture, assault with a firearm, rape by a foreign object, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted pandering by procuring, attempted human trafficking for commercial sex and forcible rape by acting in concert.

In his closing argument Tuesday, prosecutor Neil Layton told jurors, “These three men are guilty of every charge for their acts on June 3, 2014.”

In her testimony in August, the woman said the men drove her to Booker’s apartment in East Oakland, where she said Booker struck her with a gun seven times and then cut her on the breasts, legs and stomach with a knife after she was bound with duct tape.

The woman, identified in court as Jane Doe, said she was bleeding profusely and lapsed in and out of consciousness but remembers one of the men sexually assaulting her.

The woman said that at one point Booker told her “he was going to shoot me if I screamed.”

The woman said she bled so much that eventually she was able to free her arms from the duct tape and jump out of a window and run out onto a nearby street, where she first hid underneath a car and then asked the car’s owner to call police.

She said that after police arrived, she was taken to a hospital to be treated for her injuries, which included multiple contusions and stabbing wounds.

Booker was convicted of second-degree murder last year for fatally shooting 37-year-old Steven Cotton of Oakland in the 2300 block of 88th Avenue at about 2:30 p.m. on July 9, 2013, about a month after the woman was allegedly kidnapped, and was sentenced to 62 years to life in state prison.

Prosecutors said Booker shot Cotton after Cotton started a fight with him.

Booker was originally arrested and charged for the alleged kidnapping and torture of the woman. While he was in custody, Oakland police developed information that he was responsible for Cotton’s death. He wasn’t charged with murder in that case until January 2014.

Booker also has four additional previous felony convictions dating back to 2006: one each for carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon and two for possession of a controlled substance.

Prosecutors say Mitchell has four previous convictions for grand theft, transportation of marijuana for sales, possession of a controlled substance with a prior conviction and being an accessory after the fact.

Jurors deliberated for several hours Tuesday afternoon and will resume their deliberations on Wednesday morning.

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