Suspect in vicious Venice attacks charged with rape, attempted murder

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Suspect in Venice attacks charged with rape, attempted murder
A man accused of violently attacking and sexually assaulting two women in Venice was charged with rape, attempted murder and several other charges.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A man suspected of attacking and sexually assaulting two women near the Venice Canals was charged with multiple felonies, prosecutors announced Monday.

Anthony Francisco Jones, 29, was charged with two counts of forcible rape and one count each of sexual penetration by use of force, mayhem, torture, attempted murder and sodomy by use of force, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.

The charges include allegations that the crime were committed in the course of a kidnapping, targeted multiple victims and inflicted great bodily injury. He could face life in prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney's Office.

At a news conference Monday, Gascón described the attacks as "one of the most brutal" he has ever seen.

Jones pleaded not guilty to the charges. His bail was initially set at more than $3 million, but prosecutors felt that was too low. The judge agreed and ordered he be held without bail.

The first attack happened around 10:30 p.m. April 6 in the 2700 block of Strongs Drive, according to the LAPD. Jones is accused of sneaking up behind a woman and hitting her with a "hard object," knocking her unconscious.

"When she regained consciousness, she found herself bleeding from the face; her phone was missing," Gascón said. "She had missing teeth, bruising and swelling to her neck and facial fractures."

The victim was identified in a GoFundMe page as Mary Klein. She has been released from a hospital, but has eight facial fractures and will need multiple surgeries.

About an hour after the first attack, police say a similar assault was carried out on another woman as she was walking near the Sherman Canal.

The second victim remains hospitalized in a coma.

Police say both women were sexually assaulted.

Jones was arrested Thursday night in San Diego, where he had allegedly fled following the attacks, which occurred the night of April 6, police said.

Detectives credit the Venice community for stepping up to help investigators.

"Business owners and local residents were very, very helpful in providing us with surveillance footage that helped us identify the suspect," LAPD Detective Brent Hopkins said.

LAPD Chief Dominic Choi says Jones doesn't appear to have a noteworthy criminal history - no indicators that he'd be someone police would need to watch prior to the attacks.

City News Service contributed to this report.