A Fairfax County Circuit Court jury found an Alexandria man guilty yesterday of raping a 16-year-old girl at gunpoint in October and recommended sentencing him to 110 years in prison.
After deliberating about an hour, the jury found Raul Mendez, in his late twenties, guilty of rape, two counts of sodomy and abduction with intent to defile, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Melinda S. Norton.
"I felt that the sentence imposed by the jury was extremely fair," said Norton, adding that some of the jurors cried during closing arguments. "The victim underwent a terrible ordeal, but through it all maintained an excellent demeanor and was able to quickly assist the police in the apprehension of the assailant."
Norton said during the two-day trial that the victim had stayed up late doing laundry at her parents' house the evening of Oct. 14 and the next morning had stopped in the parking lot of Mount Vernon Recreational Center to take a nap in her locked car before going to school.
Norton said Mendez, a house painter, tapped the bumper of her car with his car and abducted her at gunpoint when she got out to inspect the damage.
He sodomized her, she said, then forced her into his car and drove to a deserted area where he raped her.
The prosecutor said the girl gave a full description of her assailant to Fairfax County police, and Mendez was arrested less than a half day later.
"I was really shocked with the jury's verdict," said defense attorney Ramsey R. Maupin.
"We're going to try some post-trial remedies before we decide whether to appeal."
Mendez has been held at the Fairfax County jail in lieu of $100,000 bond since his arrest, according to Norton. She said sentencing, before Judge Barnard F. Jennings, is set for Feb. 7.
Under Virginia law, judges can decrease, but not increase, sentences that juries recommend with their verdicts.