Surrounded by plexiglass, a young woman took the stand in a Long Beach courtroom Tuesday morning to testify against the man police believe kidnapped her from a Downtown Long Beach parking garage and repeatedly sexually assaulted her in her own car in March.
Rape and sexual assault by a complete stranger is rare—most often the victim knows their assailant in some way. It is also unusual for a victim to testify against their assailant in a preliminary hearing, which is where a judge decides if there is enough evidence to hold a suspect for trial.
The woman, identified as Jane Doe, was resolute as she recounted to the judge, prosecutors and defense the Sunday afternoon on March 15 when she was kidnapped.
Facing her in his yellow scrub shirt, face covered in tattoos and handcuffed, was 40-year-old Jacob Brown, whom police arrested four days after the incident and a day after releasing security camera footage of him leaving the scene. Brown has pleaded not guilty to nine charges, including carjacking, kidnapping during carjacking and kidnapping for a sex crime, as well as three counts each of assault with intent to commit rape and forced oral copulation.
Doe testified she had just gotten to the roof of the parking structure on Fifth Street and Pine Avenue at about 3:45 p.m. and texted her friend that she had arrived. She got out of her car to move her bags and then got back in the driver’s seat with the door ajar while she waited when someone approached her car, put his hand over her mouth and told her not to say anything or he was going to kill her. The suspect then forced her to move over to the passengers seat inside the car and he turned it on.
With a cracked voice, Doe recounted how she repeatedly asked, “Why is this happening? What’s happening?” She told him to take her car and just let her out—he said no.
“He told me that he needed to use my car to go get his son because of something about drugs,” she said, later adding that he said someone was holding his son hostage because he owed money for drugs. She saw his eyes were dilated, he was sweating, he was driving erratically and he later said he was “spun,” meaning he was under the influence of drugs.
Instead of getting his son, he ended up taking her to three different isolated locations in Long Beach: a dirt area near the docks, an alley near an apartment building and a dead-end road. In each of those locations, he repeatedly sexually assaulted her, even using her phone to watch rape porn while doing so, she testified tearfully through deep breaths.
He had forced her into the back seat, where the windows were tinted, so no one could see she needed help. The child lock button on the driver’s side door was engaged, so she couldn’t escape either. In the second location, she had tried to wave to someone walking near the car for help, but they didn’t see her. Throughout, she asked to be taken back to the parking structure where he found her.
“I kept asking him over and over and he kept telling me to shut up,” she said.
After assaulting her again at the third location, he started driving toward the place he kidnapped her from. Unfamiliar with the area, she accidentally told him to go to the parking structure across the street from where she started. There, he told her he wasn’t sure if he would let her go, if he could trust her not to go to police. She assured him she just wanted to go home, she wouldn’t tell anyone.
He took her ID card, which she willingly gave because she had just moved and it had the wrong address on it. He forced her to write down her phone number, in which she wrote a fake one down, and he threatened to hurt her and her friend, who had been calling and texting her throughout the whole ordeal.
Doe testified that Brown told her that once she got out of the car, she had to hug him, so it would look like they knew each other if anyone was watching.
“My first thought was: ‘Don’t get too close to him because most people don’t leave after something like this,'” she recounted, adding that she still didn’t know if he had a weapon. She offered to pray with him instead and he accepted this.
“After I prayed for him, he said he wanted to change,” she said. “He said he does this often.”
She hugged him as quick as she possibly could and he disappeared down the parking structure stairwell.
It felt like hours had gone by, she said. Asked to describe him, she said he was wearing a light colored t-shirt, board shorts and tennis shoes.
“And tattoos on his face and whole body—blue eyes,” she said definitively as she stared across the courtroom toward the suspect.
Judge Judith Meyer ordered Brown to stand trial on the nine charges against him. He will be back in court Oct. 21.
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