A brutal kidnapping and torture case in the Excelsior seemed to have a clear perpetrator, but his attorneys are now calling the confession into question.
It’s been two weeks since a 74-year-old woman somehow survived a five-hour long kidnapping ordeal in which she was raped, forced into oral sex and sodomy, and repeatedly bitten by a pit bull until losing consciousness. But the general public did not know about this story until it was reported Tuesday by the Chronicle, with local TV news outlets following up that 47-year-old Honduran native Manuel Amador had fully confessed to the crime when he was arrested last Friday. But the San Francisco Examiner now reports that the suspect may be recanting his confession, or at least disputing it somehow, and the Chronicle notes that he pled not guilty at a hearing Thursday morning.
Public Defender’s Office defense attorney Tal Klement said, “I’m still reviewing the discovery but I will be taking a close look at the circumstances of any purported confession,” during court motions, according to the Examiner. “It’s too early to tell, but we know that people make false confessions.”
“Mr. Amador has lived in San Francisco for over two decades and has absolutely no criminal record,” he added. “So these allegations are completely out of character with who he is.”
And the allegations are severe. Police say the unnamed woman was on a morning walk on May 10 on Prague Street near McLaren Park. Amador is accused of grabbing her and forcing her into his house, where she was sexually assaulted for five hours, and bitten in the hip, ankle, and feet by a pit bull. She eventually lost consciousness, and Amador allegedly re-dressed her and left her on the street, where a passerby found her and called 911.
“This case is particularly egregious,” Assistant District Attorney Margaret Buitrago wrote in a petition to the court. "The defendant’s lack of criminal history should not dilute the severity of [his] conduct.” He was scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of charges of kidnapping, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by foreign object, rape by force or violence and sodomy.
Since the accused lived his early life in Honduras, Fox News is already all over this one, and it’s getting national coverage. We cover enough unthinkably awful murders to know that most of them are not, in fact, committed by immigrants. But this case is unusual because of the apparently recanted confession. Amador will return to court June 12, and could face life in prison if convicted.