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A Boston man accused of kidnapping and raping an intoxicated young woman in 2019 has asked a judge to order his release from prison.
Lawyers for Victor M. Pena, 41, filed a motion last week to compel his release from the Suffolk County House of Correction at South Bay, where he has been held without bail since 2019, according to the Boston Globe and Boston Herald. It's Pena's second motion for medical release filed in 2022: His lawyer also filed a motion for his release in January citing the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that his trial has been repeatedly delayed, according to the Globe.
This time, his lawyers told the court Pena had tumors requiring medical treatment.
Pena was arrested on Jan. 22, 2019 after police forced their way into his locked Bunker Hill apartment, the Herald reported, and found a 23-year-old woman who had been reported missing after she left a bar on Jan. 19, CBS News reported. Police had circulated photos of a person of interest in the case and neighbors reportedly identified the man as Pena, according to Boston Magazine.
The woman in question had last been seen leaving an Irish pub near Boston's Faneuil Hall around 11:00 p.m.; she encountered Pena on the street and a witness told police that she saw the two enter a nearby subway station together, describing Pena as holding the woman upright, the Herald reported. Police allegedly have surveillance footage of the two getting off the subway together and then walking towards his apartment.
Her family didn't hear from her again until police allegedly found her in his apartment three days later.
Prosecutors say the victim woke up in Pena's apartment on the morning of Jan. 20 withe no memory of how she'd gotten there and discovered she was locked inside, according to the Globe. He told her that he had "rescued her," and believed the two should have a baby.
Prosecutors say Pena then proceeded to rape the victim multiple times, in between forcing her to drink whiskey and vodka, reading to her from the Bible and threatening to kill her. They also say that Pena took more than 300 photos and six videos of and with the woman, according to the Herald and NBC Boston; many were sexually explicit.
An investigator in the case testified at an earlier hearing that the victim looked "miserable," "hopeless" and "despondent" in the photos in which she was conscious and another officer testified that, when police made entry into Pena's apartment, the victim was shaking profusely.
Pena was scheduled to go to trial last September, the Globe reported, before he fired his defense lawyer for refusing to offer Pena's preferred defense: Pena wanted to claim that his victim was a sex worker, which his lawyer refused to do. He tried to fire his new lawyers again last month, claiming they were trying to kill him. Prosecutors allege that his attempt to fire his lawyers again was an effort to further delay his trial, currently scheduled for June.
Prosecutors say that clinicians sent to examine Pena have called him "manipulative" and "malingering," according to the Globe, while his family and lawyers say he has mental health issues that make him incompetent to stand trial, according to NBC Boston.
Pena's mental competency was evaluated after his arrest, according to Boston Magazine, which reported that he had a history of ex-girlfriends filing restraining orders. One ex told the Herald in 2019 that he'd also locked her in his apartment with an unauthorized lock on the door which could only be opened with a key from the inside. A third woman reportedly also claimed he'd attempted to restrain her inside an apartment.
CBS News Boston reported Pena twice had interactions with transit police in Boston over his behavior towards women prior to his arrest and Boston Police testified that Pena had been charged in New York City with the indecent assault of two women on the street, but was found unfit to stand trial in that case.
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