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Trial to Begin for Pair Accused of Abducting Student
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Issue 35, Volume 17.
Vincente Robert Avila, 22, and Cory Michael Christian, 23, both of Riverside, could each face more than a dozen years behind bars if convicted of kidnapping to commit robbery, carjacking, false imprisonment and armed robbery in connection with an alleged Jan, 24, 2012, abduction.
Avila and Christian are each being held in lieu of $1 million bail at jails in Banning and Riverside.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by Riverside police Detective Jim Simons, the victim, a 19-year-old Cal State Fullerton student identified only as J.R., told police that he first encountered the defendants after walking to his pickup in the parking lot of a Metrolink station at 10901 Indiana Ave.
J.R., who used Metrolink to go back and forth between school and home, alleged that Christian approached and asked him for a ride, which he said he couldn't provide because he had to get home due to the late hour, at which point both defendants forced him inside the vehicle.
"Vicente Avila pulled a 12-inch blade kitchen-type knife out and pointed it into the victim's chest," Simons wrote. "Avila directed him to drive into a nearby residential neighborhood."
The defendants allegedly ordered the young man to hand over all of his valuables, including his wrist watch, mobile phone and wallet, then had him climb in the backseat, where Christian sat next to him, according to Simons.
The detective said Avila slid into the driver's seat and just before putting the vehicle in gear, turnedaround and allegedly pointed the knife at J.R., ordering him to disclose his ATM pin number, which the victim did.
"Avila told him that he would have no remorse if he killed him," Simons said. "He told him that he already had two (felony) strikes and would not be afraid to kill him ... Avila also made comments that he had killed several other people."
Avila drove to a store parking lot at Tyler Street and Magnolia Avenue and parked the truck, debating with Christian about which Bank of America ATM they should use to withdraw funds from J.R.'s account, according to the affidavit.
Avila and Christian openly discussed whether to beat or kill J.R. "because he saw their faces," prompting the young man to abruptly unlock the back door and bolt from the pickup with Christian hanging onto his shirt, attempting to pull him back, Simons alleged.
The victim wriggled free and ran to a retail outlet that was still open and yelled for an employee to call 911 and his mother, according to Simons.
Avila and Christian allegedly drove to another location and abandoned the pickup. They used J.R.'s ATM card at a B of A branch at 4601 La Sierra Avenue in Riverside, where a surveillance camera snapped their photographs, Simons said.
According to the detective, after bulletins and photographs of the suspects were circulated throughout the area, police received several tips related to the men's identities.
Christian was arrested without incident at his house on Feb. 1. Avila was arrested a month later while walking toward a relative's residence in Riverside.
Christian has several prior convictions for drug possession and use, while Avila has a prior conviction for robbery, according to court records.
Both were on probation at the time of the alleged crime.
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