San Diego

Man Accused of Kidnapping, Raping Woman in South Bay Home Where Body Was Found Pleads Not Guilty

The bizarre and twisted case is still under investigation

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WARNING: Some of the details in this story are graphic and you might find them disturbing.

A man accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in a Palm City home that was later discovered to have another woman's body inside pleaded not guilty Tuesday to those crimes as well as a previous assault in Chula Vista.

Rafael Banda appeared in San Diego County court Tuesday -- in a wheelchair pushed by a deputy, which was a change from last week when he walked into the courtroom without assistance -- to face charges of assault causing great bodily injury, rape by force and kidnapping. 

The bizarre and twisted case is still under investigation after the victim told investigators Banda asked her to help him dismember a dead woman. When she refused, the woman told investigators Banda raped her.

During a court appearance last week, disturbing new details were disclosed about the investigation.

Deputy District Attorney Joshua Brisbane said Banda and the allegedly kidnapped woman had known each other for about a week when he started acting erratic. That is when the victim decided to end the relationship.

When the woman visited the house where Banda was staying to pick up some of her items, Banda threatened her with a knife forcing her to stay, prosecutors said. Banda then had the victim call her daughter to ask for money. The victim’s daughter became concerned for her mother’s safety and called the police but did not have an exact location of where her mother could be.

Prosecutors say Banda asked the kidnapped woman to help dismember the dead body of a woman inside the home and when she refused, Banda raped her. According to prosecutors, the victim was able to escape and flag someone down for help the next day while Banda was sleeping. 

Banda has not been charged with any crimes in connection to the dead woman, nor has her cause of death been released by the medical examiner.

Banda was also arraigned on a charge of assault with the intent to cause great bodily injury, stemming from an incident in El Cajon last October. The charging document indicates the victim was a woman but doesn’t go into further detail.

Banda has an extensive criminal record which includes auto theft, resisting arrest, drug charges and an assault with a deadly weapon conviction in 2008 which sent him to prison for 14 years.

As Banda was wheeled out of the courtroom he was heard saying “Tell my parents I love them.” He’s being held without bail. 

If convicted Banda could get 35 years to life in prison.

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