Local

Spencer Scarber denied new trial in rape case

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A year after Spencer Scarber was convicted of raping a neighbor's housekeeper, a judge has decided he should not get a new trial, and a 37 minute interruption in his ruling reinforced his decision.

Action News broke the news of Scarber's disappearance last December and his arrest in Mexico two months later. For the first time since Scarber's rape conviction, it's clear he'll be sent to prison for the crime.

The judge sifted through a lot of theories accusing the sheriff's office of conspiring to get Scarber, the district attorney of having an affair with his father, Kyle Scarber -- the former assistant CHP chief, and the trial attorney of not doing a good job.

In the end, the judge said that was all a distraction from the clear evidence of Scarber's guilt.

Spencer Scarber's own words convinced a jury he raped a stranger in July 2011. His detailed confession to sheriff's investigators also short-circuited the attempt to get him a new trial after he disappeared right before the jury's conviction.

Judge Edward Sarkisian ruled against Scarber's motion for a new trial Thursday, saying the accusations in it were either irrelevant or proven wrong. To drive his point home, the judge played Scarber's 37-minute confession in the middle of his decision.

"There are so many allegations that have been brought out here," said ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi. "Some are outlandish, some have some backing, but the judge is very meticulous in the way he wrote his decision and the way he handled it in the courtroom this time. He wanted to make sure not only is he right, but the public knows he's right."

In asking for a new trial, Scarber's attorney, Charles Magill, claimed his trial attorney, Antonio Alvarez, didn't do his job.

The judge disagreed.

Magill also claimed the Fresno County sheriff's office conspired with local thugs to beat the confession out of Scarber.

Again, the judge disagreed, saying Scarber gave details only the rapist and the victim could possibly know.

"So how exactly did he give the details he gave in that confession that matched exactly what the victim said at trial?" an Action News reporter asked Magill.

"Like I said, the only details he had to change from what really happened - because he admits to having sex with her so there's DNA at the scene -- the only details he has to change is that he had a knife and he wore a mask," Magill replied. "And frankly those details were fed to him when he received a beating."

Scarber fled to Mexico on the day he was supposed to testify in his own defense. A broken crutch and blood in front of his house made it look like a kidnapping, but sheriffs quickly discovered evidence of his flight.

His parents and sister are now accused of helping him run. His mother left the courtroom Thursday a ball of emotions, seemingly accepting her son's fate, but wondering why his sentence will be so heavy.

"106 years to life and five people in this very courthouse were sentenced to two years (for homicides)," said Gail Scarber.

Her son is now scheduled to be sentenced next month, with a mandatory life sentence. His attorney is already planning an appeal.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
mexico, fresno, fresno county, squaw valley, sex crimes, local, corin hoggard
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