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Rowland Heights Man Among Four Arrested for Allegedly Helping a Suspected Rapist Avoid Capture

By City News Service

A Rowland Heights man was among two men and two women arrested by the El Monte police on suspicion of helping an 18-year-old gang member avoid capture and prosecution for allegedly raping a clerk at an convenience store, authorities said Wednesday.

The four alleged accomplices were identified as Charlene Godinez, 39, and John Godinez, 41, both of La Puente, Lisa Beserra, 45, of El Monte, and Mario Chavez, 43, of Rowland Heights, according to Sgt. R. Cobian of the El Monte Police Department.

Additional suspects are being sought, Cobian said.

Joseph Leo Amaya was due in court today but his arraignment was postponed until Nov. 13.

Amaya was charged with two counts of forcible rape and three counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object. The charges include an allegation that he kidnapped the victim, a 19-year-old college student, to commit those crimes.

Amaya allegedly approached the victim while she worked the night shift at the Peck Mini Mart at 4164 N. Peck Road. He left the store, but allegedly returned when the clerk was getting ready to close up.

Prosecutors allege that Amaya forced his way back in as the clerk tried to lock the doors. He allegedly barricaded the store's entrance doors and dragged the young woman to the back of the store, where he repeatedly sexually assaulted her, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Public tips and investigation by the U.S. Marshals Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force and county Sheriff's and Probation departments led to Amaya's arrest Saturday in West Covina.

Police said he is a gang member with the initials of his gang tattooed on his right arm.

Amaya was jailed in lieu of $5 million bail. If convicted as charged, he faces a maximum sentence of 125 years to life in state prison, according to the District Attorney's Office.


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