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Santa Barbara Juries Find Men Guilty of Raping Woman on East Beach

Two men were found guilty Thursday of raping a woman on Santa Barbara's East Beach, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office

Juan Carlos Herrera-Romero, 31, and Gabino Andres Romero, 27, who are cousins, each had a jury during the trial, in which both men were accused of sexually assaulting a woman on July 16, 2014. 

The juries both returned guilty verdicts in court Thursday

At the time of the crimes, police said the Romeros spent the evening of July 15 fishing on Stearns Wharf, where they consumed beers, discussed finding a homeless woman to sexually assault, and then used knives to subdue the woman and her partner while the assaults took place.

Herrera-Romero was convicted of four felony charges, including conspiracy to commit rape, rape in concert, forcible rape and forcible oral copulation in concert, according to the District Attorney's Office.

He was also found to have personally used a knife during the assault. 

Romero's jury returned guilty verdicts on four felony charges as well, including rape in concert, forcible rape, forcible oral copulation in concert, and criminal threats against the sexual assault victim's companion, who was present.

He was also found to have personally used a knife during the threats and assault. 

"The use of a knife during the commission of a forcible sex crime makes each defendant eligible for a life sentence under California’s One Strike Law," according to a statement from the DA's office. 

Both men will be sentenced by Judge Rick Brown on Oct. 7.

Herrera-Romero faces a maximum sentence of 54 years to life in state prison, and Romero faces a maximum sentence of 36 years to life.

“As a result of the exemplary investigative work on the part of the Santa Barbara Police Department and the eventual prosecution by Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Barron, both defendants will spend the rest of their lives in prison, and hopefully these highly vulnerable survivors will begin their healing process,” District Attorney Joyce Dudley said in a statement released after the jury deliberations and verdicts. 

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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