SAN DIEGO - A Colorado ex-con accused of raping a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint after forcing her into his truck in Pacific Beach early on New Year's Day appeared in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing that will determine if he should stand trial.
Jacob Paul Skorniak, 50, is charged with forcible rape and kidnapping for rape. At his arraignment in January, Deputy District Attorney Marisa Di Tillio said that the victim -- who is from out of the country -- was attacked as she exited a taxi cab and tried to make her way home.
Skorniak, a total stranger to the victim, used a knife to cut off some of her clothing before raping her, the prosecutor alleged. During the struggle, the victim's cellphone dialed a family member, who was able to hear some of the violence, Di Tillio told the judge.
The prosecutor alleged that Skorniak released the victim a couple of blocks from the place she was staying after seeing police surrounding the residence. The defendant was the subject of a statewide search until he was arrested Jan. 21 in Santa Barbara.
Di Tillio said Skorniak has a significant criminal history dating back to the 1980s, including convictions for burglary, robbery and escape. Skorniak was also on federal parole at the time of the alleged rape, the prosecutor said.
Following the preliminary hearing, a judge will determine if enough evidence was presented for Skorniak to stand trial.
The defendant faces 65 years to life in prison if convicted.