Saturday, December 8, 2007

Man receives 3 life sentences for raping 10-year-old girl

Rene Stutzman

Sentinel Staff Writer

December 8, 2007


A judge on Friday gave three consecutive life sentences to a man convicted of dragging a 10-year-old girl into the woods, choking her, and then raping her.

A day earlier, a jury had found Antonio Rosales, 41, a homeless man who was living in those woods, guilty of child rape, kidnapping and attempted first-degree murder.

Because of the girl's age, the rape charge carries a mandatory life sentence, but Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson stacked on two additional ones. She did not explain her thinking during the three-minute hearing, which had originally been set for next week.

There was little discussion at the hearing. The victim, now 15, was there with her family. She did not say anything to the judge.

Neither did Rosales, who sat quietly behind the defense table, the same one he knocked over during an angry outburst two days earlier.

The victim testified Tuesday that her attacker dragged her into the woods in Casselberry about dusk Nov. 1, 2003, as she was on her way to the grocery store on her brother's push-scooter. The man choked her until she lost consciousness, she said.

Rosales confessed to authorities a week later, saying he had pulled down the girl's pants and touched her. He also confessed to an unrelated crime -- killing an elderly woman in Arizona.

Delores N. Salvatierra was found dead in her Tucson home Aug. 9, 2001.

"She essentially felt sorry for him," said Tucson police Sgt. Fabian Pacheco, "gave him a place to stay in a garage. They made a little room for him, even went so far as to find him a job nearby."

Rosales has been named in an arrest warrant in that slaying but has not been charged.

He will likely be sent to a Florida state prison for a few months, then shipped to Tucson for possible trial, said Barb Lauritzen with the Pima County Attorney's office in Tucson.

After the Tucson case is concluded, he'll be returned to Florida to finish serving his time here, Lauritzen said.

Rosales has already spent time in a Central American prison for another homicide. Guatemalan federal criminal records show he was judged guilty of homicide in 1991, although they provide no detail.

"They found him next to a dead woman," said Jeffrey Danziger, a Winter Park psychiatrist who evaluated Rosales' mental state and testified Thursday. "He spent some time in a Guatemalan prison. How much, I don't know."

During Rosales' confession to local authorities four years ago, he said he was born in Guatemala and had twice sneaked into the United States, once in 1995 and again in 2002.

But according to U.S. immigration records, he has entered the U.S. unlawfully at least three times. He was deported in 1998 and again in 2000, according to Barbara Gonzalez, spokeswoman with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The federal government thinks he's a native of Mexico. He has provided no evidence that he's from Guatemala, Gonzalez wrote in an e-mail Friday, and each time he was deported, it was to Mexico.

Rene Stutzman can be reached at or 407-324-7294.

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