‘I Will Never Be the Same': Victim to Balboa Park Rapist

Ismael Hernandez, Jr. pleaded guilty to rape in June. As he listened to his victims in court Friday, he shook and wept.

A Chula Vista man who repeatedly raped a woman at knifepoint during a nearly three-hour ordeal near Balboa Park, after trying to abduct another woman the same night, was sentenced today to 55 years to life in state prison. 

Ismael Hernandez, Jr. pleaded guilty in June to rape, forcible oral copulation and attempted kidnapping with intent to commit rape. The 28-year-old defendant -- who has a 2012 conviction for robbery -- will have to register as sex offender for life.

The rape victim, identified in court as Rebecca, said the May 5, 2016, attack has left her filled with anxiety, panic and fear. 

"You murdered my soul that night and I will never be the same,'' she told the defendant. "You raped and tortured me for nearly three hours. You have stolen my children's mom from them. Your disgusting acts do not define me." 

The night of the attack, Hernandez was a "predator on our streets looking for someone to rape," prosecutor Judy Taschner said.

The victim was walking back to her car after work near the south end of Balboa Park about 9:45 p.m. when Hernandez came around a corner, got in her face and said, "Don't scream." 

She testified that Hernandez had a knife and told her to be quiet or he would hurt her. She said Hernandez walked her to a nearby area and sexually assaulted her, then moved her to a second location, where he forced sex acts with her again.

After the nearly three-hour assault, Rebecca said she started to put her clothes back on and Hernandez took off. She said she flagged down a pizza delivery driver and called police, telling officers she thought her attacker was on methamphetamine.

She helped police come up with a composite drawing of the suspect, who was arrested several days later as a result of information received from numerous sources, including surveillance video, tips to Crime Stoppers and calls from people who knew the defendant.

The other victim, identified only as "Jane Doe," testified that Hernandez came up from behind her as she emerged from a restaurant near Balboa

Park with some take-out food about 9:30 that same night.

"I was shocked," the woman said. "He was really close to my face. He said, 'Don't say anything. Don't say anything. Don't say anything.'"

"Jane Doe" said she noticed the defendant had a knife in his hand, so she threw her food at his face and ran back into the restaurant, and he took off in another direction.

She said she and her boyfriend drove around and looked for her attacker, but were unable to find him. She said she called police the next day when she watched a news report about a rapist near Balboa Park.

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