The man accused of a violent rape on the campus of UC Santa Barbara appeared in court on Tuesday.
The crime happened two and a half years ago in February of 2014. The alleged victim was reportedly gang raped for hours, and severely beaten before she was able to escape to her apartment and call for help. Police said the incident happened in an overgrown area of UCSB near the track.
The suspect at the center of the case Daniel Jiang Chen, 21, entered a not guilty plea in early 2016. Chen became the prime suspect when he arrested in Alameda County on a felony drug charge. Police say that arrest, and the collection of his DNA linked him to the UCSB gang rape.
Chen is facing two felony counts of forcible rape, and special allegations including torture and inflicting great bodily injury to the accuser.
In court Tuesday morning, five witnesses took the stand in front of Chen.
UCSB Police officer Darren Miller responded to the victim, referred to as Jane Doe, in the morning of the alleged attack. Miller and all of the other witnesses say the victim’s injuries were the worst they have ever seen. Miller said the victim admitted drinking alcohol at her apartment with friends, at a friend’s house and at a party on Del Playa in Isla Vista. However, Miller says the victim did not reek of alcohol or had slurred speech.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Sergeant Joe Schmidt was a detective during the crime. Schmidt says the victim told him she left the Del Playa party with a male friend, but her memory was fuzzy regarding what happened between leaving and being assaulted.
UCSB Police Detective Dawn Arviso saw the victim a couple weeks in Northern California after the alleged attack. Arviso called the victim a “survivor” throughout the time she was on the bench. Arviso says she accompanied Jane Doe to the crime scene months after the attack. Arviso says the victim got on all fours, cried and talked to herself. She displayed obvious signs of trauma. Arviso also coordinated the arrest of Chen when he appeared in an unrelated case in Hayward County in Northern California. She interviewed Chen regarding the assault. She says Chen claimed her didn’t know the victim or didn’t know why his DNA showed up at the crime scene.
The fourth witness to take the stand was Cynthia Hecox, a registered nurse and member of the sexual assault nurse examination team. Hecox says she had to walk out of the room and compose herself when she saw the victim’s face. Jane Doe had a ruptured ear drum, a broken nose, bruised knees and countless other injuries externally and internally.
In court, videos of the victim’s injuries were shown.
The last witness to testify was Carla Levi from the California Department of Justice crime lab in Santa Barbara. Levi is a senior criminalist. Levi examined items found at the scene, involving the victim’s underwear and two used condoms. Levi said the condoms had DNA evidence belonging to Chen. She said no other male DNA was identified.
No other suspects in the case have been arrested.
Chen is expected to appear in court in November for his arraignment.