D.C. man gets 78 years for raping three women

Update – Friday – 3/15/2013, 12:55pm ET

WASHINGTON – The man convicted of posing as a taxi driver and sexually assaulting three women has been sentenced to 78 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.

Earlier – Wednesday – 1/9/2013, 7:52am ET

WASHINGTON – A D.C. man has been convicted of sexually assaulting three women while he posed as a taxi driver.

A jury found Emero Tornero, 32, guilty Monday of 16 charges including kidnapping, sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances as well as firearms offenses. He will be sentenced in March and faces up to life in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia announced Tuesday.

“Tornero is a serial rapist whose shocking brutality forever changed the lives of three women who just needed a cab ride. Our community will be a safer place with this violent criminal behind bars,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. in a written statement.

Tornero’s three victims were all seeking a cab ride and hailed Tornero’s vehicle believing it was a taxi. Instead the women were trapped inside a vehicle rigged so that the rear doors and windows would not open from the inside, prosecutors say.

In separate attacks spread over several years, he took the women to secluded areas and raped them. One woman was with her three-year-old child when she was raped in the backseat of the car. Another victim was raped at both gun and knifepoint after she was taken to Montgomery County, Md. The third victim was unconscious when she was raped, prosecutors says.

Tornero is accused of attacking the women between May 2005 and November 2008. During that same time period, he attacked and robbed a man, who thought he had hailed a taxi.

DNA collected from the victims linked the second and third rapes and the robbery. That evidence led police to Tornero, whose DNA was a match, prosecutors say.

“This guilty verdict demonstrates the power of DNA to help us capture and convict the most dangerous sex offenders,” Machen said.

Tornero was was sentenced to 24 years and three months in prison for a separate case involving a series of violent attacks against taxi drivers who were working in the District. One of his victims was 78-years-old.

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