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Victim: Abductor Threatened to Kill Me
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
Issue 36, Volume 17.
"He said, 'This is a robbery. If you try to run, I'll kill you,"' Jarad Reyes testified. "Then, like immediately afterward, he put a knife to my chest."
Reyes, 20, acknowledged being frightened for his life during the Jan. 24, 2012, abduction, which occurred moments after he arrived at the Metrolink station at 10901 Indiana Ave. in Riverside.
The Cal State Fullerton student said he rode the commuter train weekly to get to and from school, leaving his pickup truck in the station parking lot.
Reyes testified that he first encountered the defendants -- 22-year-old Vincente Robert Avila and 23-year-old Cory Michael Christian -- as he was making his way toward his vehicle that night. He alleged that Christian approached and asked 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 his vehicle.
Avila was allegedly in possession of a 12-inch kitchen knife and did most of the talking, according to Reyes.
He testified that he was forced to hand over his wrist watch, wallet and new Apple iPhone, still in its case.
"Avila said I needed to listen or he was ultimately going to hurt me," Reyes said. "They instructed me to keep my hands where they could see them and to keep looking down."
Avila allegedly took the wheel of the pickup, while Christian is accused of forcing the victim to sit with him in the small rear seating compartment.
Avila allegedly demanded that Reyes tell him his ATM number, and the victim complied.
Riverside police Detective Jim Simons wrote in an arrestwarrant affidavit that Avila boasted of having "two felony strikes ... and 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 Reyes' account, according to testimony.
As the defendants were conversing, Reyes testified that he decided to make a run for it and pushed open the passenger-side door, attempting to dive headfirst out of the pickup, but Christian grabbed the back of his shirt collar.
"It was extremely forceful," Reyes said. "He was trying to pull me back in. I was leaning halfway outside, and he was still inside the vehicle."
The victim had bruises on his shoulders and wrists as a result of the struggle. He said he managed to wriggle free of Christian's grasp and fled to a retail outlet that was still open and yelled for an employee to call 911 and his mother.
Avila and Christian allegedly drove to another location and abandoned the pickup. They used Reyes' ATM card at a B of A branch at 4601 La Sierra Avenue in Riverside, where a surveillance camera snapped their photographs, according to Simons.
Christian was arrested without incident at his house on Feb. 1, 2012. Avila was arrested a month later while walking toward a relative's residence in Riverside.
Each could face more than a dozen years behind bars if convicted of kidnapping to commit robbery, carjacking, false imprisonment and armed robbery.
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. They're each being held in lieu of $1 million bail at jails in Banning and Riverside.
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