SAN FRANCISCO — A Richmond man who is serving seven life terms plus 300 years for kidnapping a woman and a 12-year-old and raping them, in separate incidents, lost his bid for a new trial when the First District Appellate Court ruled against him late last month.
Louis Ray Coleman, 45, was convicted in 2017 of kidnapping a woman, raping her in the yard of an abandoned Richmond home, then subjecting a 12-year-old girl to a similar ordeal days later. Coleman did not know either victim and simply came across them by chance.
In a unanimous, 3-0 decision issued Sept. 23, appeals court judges rejected an argument that the prosecutor erred when she asked rhetorically asked what the odds were that both victims — as well as two other victims of Coleman’s in prior cases — were all lying about his conduct. Coleman’s appellate attorney argued she “used mathematical probability odds doctrine to obtain a conviction” without calling a mathematician to actually calculate those odds.
That argument was “an overreach,” the judges wrote.
“The prosecutor was clearly using the word ‘odds” in a colloquial sense,” the decision says. “More importantly, the prosecutor did not argue that her burden was satisfied because the four victims gave such 11 similar testimony.”
The judges also rejected arguments that the jury had been given bad legal instructions before deliberating.
The offenses date back to July 2016, when Coleman allegedly kidnapped a woman who’d been turned around on BART and asked him for directions in El Cerrito. He lured her into his car and took her to an abandoned home, where he sexually assaulted her in the backyard. After the woman escaped, Coleman kidnapped a 12-year-old girl who’d recently run away from a group home.
When the woman escaped, she identified Coleman as her pimp. When authorities checked his background, it was revealed he had a history of sex trafficking, including kidnapping a 12-year-old girl in Oakland during the 1990s and forcing another teen girl to live in his basement and earn money for him through sex work in the early 2000s.
Coleman is serving his sentence in California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, according to state records.
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Author: Nate Gartrell