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Judge Denies Bail Again For Suspect in UC Santa Barbara Gang Rape Case

Daniel Chen remains in custody at Santa Barbara County Jail after pleading not guilty to counts of forcible rape and allegations of torture, inflicting great bodily injury

Suspect Daniel Chen was denied bail again Wednesday and remains in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail facing charges related to a 2014 gang rape on the UCSB campus.
Suspect Daniel Chen was denied bail again Wednesday and remains in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail facing charges related to a 2014 gang rape on the UCSB campus.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

The suspect in a UC Santa Barbara campus gang rape case was denied bail again Wednesday by a Superior Court judge.

Daniel Jiang Chen, 21, of San Ramon is charged with two separate counts of forcible rape while acting in concert with others, as well as special allegations for torture and inflicting great bodily injury during a sexual assault of the victim, a female UCSB student who was severely beaten and sexually assaulted on Feb. 23, 2014.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and his attorney, Adam Pearlman, asked Judge Pauline Maxwell to set bail at $1.25 million.

Chen is currently held in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail without bail.

Pearlman said the Santa Barbara County bail schedule identifies no-bail holds for murder cases with special circumstances, but not the allegations Chen is charged with.

Pearlman argued that Chen is not a flight risk, saying he had traveled to China and back again to visit family since the alleged crimes.

Bail conditions could include surrendering Chen’s passport and wearing an electronic monitoring device, Pearlman added.

Deputy District Attorney Ben Ladinig argued that the court has to presume the charges during a bail hearing and called the alleged crimes “horrific.”

The victim was tortured, beaten and raped and her facial injuries made her “virtually unrecognizable,” Ladinig said in court.

State and federal law allow suspects with these charges to be held without bail, he said.

Defense attorney Adam Pearlman and Deputy District Attorney Ben Ladinig argue during a bail hearing for suspect Daniel Chen, right, Wednesday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court. Click to view larger
Defense attorney Adam Pearlman and Deputy District Attorney Ben Ladinig argue during a bail hearing for suspect Daniel Chen, right, Wednesday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

As to Chen being a potential flight risk, the suspect was only identified and wanted since January, when DNA from the scene was linked to Chen’s records through a database, Ladinig noted.

“By my calculations,” he said, Chen could face 34 years to life in prison if convicted, so the “risk of flight is great.”

No circumstances in the case changed since Superior Court judges Michael Carrozzo and Raimundo Montes De Oca denied bail at previous hearings, Ladinig said.

Maxwell sided with the prosecution and kept Chen in custody without bail.

Chen was present in court wearing a dress shirt and pants, and said nothing during the hearing. Attorneys continued the preliminary hearing setting to April 6.

Chen, a former UCSB student, was arrested Feb. 10 after DNA evidence from the crime scene linked him to the attack, according to the UCSB Police Department.

Chen attended UCSB between September 2012 and December 2013, according to police. 

“In an unrelated felony arrest in Alameda County, January 2016, DNA evidence from the Feb. 23, 2014, assault was linked to Daniel Jiang Chen through a DNA match in the CODIS (FBI’s Combined Index System) data base,” police said at the time of Chen’s arrest.

Pearlman said Chen has a pending drug possession case in Northern California.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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