Utah prison inmate faces trial in 2014 rape of Davis County girl

Wednesday , March 15, 2017 - 5:15 AM

MARK SHENEFELT, Standard-Examiner Staff

FARMINGTON — A convicted sex offender in the Utah State Prison faces a court hearing March 20 in connection with the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl who police said was grabbed while skateboarding in 2014.

A Davis County judge signed an arrest warrant for Richard Simon Garcia, 46, on Feb. 2 and he was charged in 2nd District Court with rape, object rape, forcible sodomy and forcible sexual abuse. The case moved forward after the state Bureau of Forensic Services finally tested a rape kit collected from the victim after the Aug. 8, 2014, attack. 

RELATED: Police: DNA tests link man to 2014 rape of Davis County girl

In a probable cause statement filed Feb. 1, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office said tests of the kit showed evidence of Garcia’s DNA.

The state crime lab has been struggling with a backlog of rape kits, although the Utah Legislature recently passed a bill to speed up testing with new requirements for police agencies and the lab, and a $1.2 million appropriation for the agency to hire more DNA analysts.

RELATED: Law enforcement struggles with rape kits backlog

West Valley City police arrested Garcia about one month after the alleged rape on a charge of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. Gang detectives said in 3rd District Court documents Garcia assaulted a pizza deliveryman and stole his car, then fled from police and crashed the car through a fence.

Garcia pleaded guilty in return for dismissal of related charges and on March 23, 2015, was sentenced to five years to life in the Utah State Prison at Draper. 

In the Davis County rape case, the girl told police a man approached her as she was passing by on her longboard and asked her if she wanted to go to a party where there would be drugs and alcohol. The girl said she did not want to and needed to go home. She told police the man grabbed her, pulled her into a secluded area and sexually assaulted her.

Sheriff’s deputies said that after the rape kit results came back, they spoke with Garcia. They said he denied knowing the girl, did not have any sexual contact with her and did not know how his DNA ended up in the rape kit swabs.

Between 1989 and 1999, Garcia was convicted of attempted forcible sexual abuse, lewdness, sex solicitation and unlawful sexual activity with a minor, the probable cause statement said.

He is due in Farmington court on March 20 before Judge Michael Allphin, who on Feb. 27 ordered the rape case bound over for trial.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt and like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SEmarkshenefelt.

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