Orlando Fla Oct 2 2011 A jury this afternoon found a man accused of kidnapping a young woman from a Target parking lot last year and raping and robbing her guilty of eight violent crimes.
The jury found Steve Allan Cahanding guilty of three counts of sexual battery, carjacking with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, kidnapping with intent to do bodily harm or terrorize while using a firerarm, aggravated assault with a firearm and fleeing law enforcement.
The one not guilty finding was for a sexual battery count involving digital penetration.
He faces a possible life sentence. Judge Jenifer Davis ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
He will be sentenced Nov. 17th.
Cahanding attacked the woman, now 20, after carjacking her in May 2010 as she sat in her parked car wrapping a gift for her mother.
In closing statements this morning, prosecutor Kelly Hicks told jurors that Cahanding planned his attack, including making his alleged victim use a feminine product to eliminate evidence of the rape.
“Right up to the high-speed chase, he was doing everything he could to not get caught,” Hicks said.
Meanwhile, Hicks told the jurors the woman did everything she could to stay alive the day of the abduction, including complying with Cahanding’s demands.
Hicks concluded her argument saying the case largely comes down to consent. She said Cahanding admit to many of the events that occurred that day, including the sex and attempts to get money from the banks.
“He admits to everything. Of course, in his version of events, it is all consensual,” Hicks said.
She then asked jurors to ask themselves if the testimony and appearance of the alleged victim matched Cahanding’s description of the young woman.
“Ask yourself if that girl matches his description,” Hicks said, describing Cahanding as “a gun-toting, angry drug addict.”
Defense attorney Blaine McChesney told jurors that Cahanding and the alleged victim were driving around looking for drugs that day and had consensual sex.
“It was not three hours of terror,” McChesney told the jury. “It was three hours of trying to get drugs.”
By the time the young woman called for help at a bank, McChesney said, “She was playing a role.”
He questioned her credibility and her memory.
The defense attorney said that Cahanding acknowledged he made a poor decision when he fled from deputies, but when they pulled up behind him, the attorney said, Cahanding thought they were going to arrest him on a drug-related charge.
When Cahanding later told his mother he “messed up,” McChesney said his client was referring to fleeing authorities when he should have stayed. He said Cahanding was not referring to the rape and other crimes with which he is charged.
McChesney pointed out inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s story. She told investigators early on that Cahanding removed her clothes, but then testified early this week that she took off her clothes. Then, she said she wasn’t sure, McChesney recalled.