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Verdict in local sex assault


A Lancaster man, convicted of sexually assaulting three women in Los Angeles and two women in Lancaster, is facing a potential life prison term, when he is sentenced next month.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated about two days before finding James Smith, 38, guilty earlier this week of three counts of forcible rape, two counts of forcible oral copulation and one count each of sexual penetration by a foreign object, sodomy by use of force, attempted sodomy by use of force and kidnapping.

The charges stemmed from attacks on a 21-year-old woman in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2009; on a 43-year-old woman in Los Angeles on Sept. 24, 2011; a 33-year-old woman in Los Angeles on March 22, 2012; a 28-year-old woman in Lancaster on Dec. 6, 2013; and a 19-year-old college student in Lancaster on June 16, 2014.

Smith was arrested in Lancaster after the final attack, in which he forced the young woman into his car, drove her to a vacant house nearby and sexually assaulted her, according to Deputy District Attorney Lowrie Mendoza.

DNA evidence linked Smith to each of the attacks, the prosecutor said.

Smith, who has remained jailed without bail since he was taken into custody, is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom for sentencing Nov. 2.