Spencer Scarber testifies, admits to fleeing

A convicted rapist whose father was an assistant CHP chief admitted Wednesday he voluntarily fled during his trial.
October 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A convicted rapist whose father was an assistant CHP chief admitted Wednesday he voluntarily fled during his trial.

Spencer Scarber tried to blame his attorney for his choices -- during a hearing to determine whether he should get a new rape trial.

Scarber finally testified, ten months after he was supposed to take the stand in his own defense. He said he didn't decide to leave town until the day before he did it, but he'd gotten a rush passport two months earlier and prosecutors say the story has other holes as well.

Spencer Scarber gave his second confession Wednesday. In July 2011, he confessed to raping a neighbor's housekeeper. Now, he's confessed to leaving the country before his trial was over. Scarber testified that he did it because his attorney changed strategies on him and told him to lie. As a result, he wants a new trial.

"In this country, you can't just leave and then say 'Now I want my trial,'" said legal analyst Ralph Torres. "It's possible and that's why they're having this motion, but there has to be some substantial evidence."

Scarber says his trial attorney, Antonio Alvarez, told him he wanted to focus on Scarber's drug use rather than his taking back the original admission to the rape.

Prosecutors say the confession was very detailed, including information about how he did it, how his hands were placed, and the disguise he wore. And DNA evidence seemed to support it. But Scarber now says it was coerced by the threats of neighbors. And Wednesday, an ex-girlfriend backed up his story.

Prosecutors point out that Spencer never mentioned any threats to law enforcement and the ex-girlfriend also didn't mention it when police interviewed her.

Scarber ran to Mexico the day he was scheduled to testify. His father, an assistant chief at the CHP at the time, reported him missing. Deputies arrested spencer two months later in Acapulco.

So, Torres says the new information may not make a difference. "I don't think the court is going to really take it seriously considering the lawyer involved and the self-serving statements from the defendant."

Scarber's request for a new trial claims his attorney was ineffective. The judge has previously said Alvarez did a good job despite the fact that his client disappeared. The motion for a new trial will now be heard in December.


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