Jury selected in trial of alleged Manhattan Heights sex predator

EL PASO, Texas - After several court hearings going back to last year, the man police accuse of raping three women last year in the Manhattan Heights neighborhood is set to go to trial.

Jury selection in 26-year-old Arturo Valtierra-Payan's trial took place Friday.

Twelve jurors and two alternates were chosen and opening statements are scheduled for Monday morning, according to the El Paso Times.

Valtierra will be tried separately for each case. The crimes occurred in May and June 2013.

He also is accused of beating up and robbing a couple in the Manhattan Heights area.

Authorities used DNA to link Valtierra-Payan, also known as Valtierra, to a sexual assault case in Fort Worth.

Valtierra lived on Savannah Street in Central El Paso, just a few blocks from where the four crimes took place.

He was arrested at about 11 p.m. July 2 in the 7200 block of Alameda.

Police said last year that there are no other open cases in El Paso against Valtierra at this time.

The Attacks

Affidavits uncovered by the ABC-7 I-Team last year reveal that Valtierra allegedly burglarized two homes a few blocks away from each other --  in less than an hour  -- on the same night in late May.

At the first home, the woman went outside to lock her vehicle door when Valtierra confronted her. She ran inside in her home but Valtierra broke the door in, injuring himself doing it, according to the affidavit.

The woman screamed, waking up her husband and small child who were in the living room.

"The defendant threatened to kill both victims if they did not cooperate," according to the affidavit. "The defendant told the male victim to get on the floor. While on the floor the male victim observed the defendant to have a tattoo on his left outer leg below the knee and the defendant was bleeding from a cut on his right shin area."

Valtierra took money and a cell phone from them and then had the man put a flat screen TV inside their vehicle, which he then took, according to the affidavit. The vehicle was found a few blocks away without the TV.

At the second home, a woman was asleep in her bed when she woke up  to find Valtierra standing over her with a knife, according to the affidavit.

"The defendant threatened to kill the victim if she did not cooperate," according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states Valtierra then forced the woman to perform a sex act on him before he raped her. The victim's home alarm went off but Valtierra was able to escape through a rear door as police arrived.

In late June, a woman woke up and Valtierra was standing over her with an ice pick, according to the affidavit. He then allegedly threatened to kill her and her daughters, who were in the same room, if she did not cooperate.

Valtierra then led the woman out of the home and made her perform a sex act on him before he raped her, according to the affidavit. He then took her back to the home and stole her money and jewelry, police said.

Two days later, Valtierra broke in through the front door of a woman's home and punched her. When she took off his bandana during the attack, he allegedly threatened to kill her, then raped her.

The Evidence

El Paso police say they were able to connect Valtierra to the first three crimes due to his DNA profile being linked to DNA found at those crime scenes.

"The probability of selecting an unrelated person at random who could be the source of this DNA profile is approximately 1 in 21.89 sextillion for caucasians, 1 in 164.4 septillion for blacks, and 1 in 338.8 quintillion for Hispanics," according to the affidavit.

The second victim also provided information about characteristics of Valtierra's penis that were verified when he was arrested and a body search warrant was executed.

El Paso police detectives linked Valtierra to a sexual assault case that was reported in the Fort Worth area in September 2012.

This link was established through DNA evidence that was recovered in El Paso and entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

Previous Crimes

A man named Arturo Valtierra-Payan with the same birth date as the man arrested in El Paso was arrested in Chihuahua in 2009 for carrying an unlicensed weapon, and served two years in Cereso Prison in Chihuahua.

A couple of years before that Valtierra was caught by the Border Patrol twice in 2007 after illegally entering the U.S. and was deported back to Mexico.

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