Opening arguments began Monday in the trial of a man accused of kidnapping and raping a woman after she left a Boston bar in 2019.
Victor Pena, 42, of Charlestown, is charged with one count of kidnapping and 10 counts of aggravated rape. Opening arguments got underway around 2 p.m. after a week of jury selection.
Court proceedings were delayed multiple times last week due to Pena's behavior. Last Wednesday, he stripped naked during jury selection. He appeared for the hearing via a remote video feed from another room in the courthouse after being removed from the courtroom a day earlier for disrupting the proceedings. The video lasted for several seconds before the feed was cut off. Jury selection resumed a short time later.
Just hours after jury selection began Tuesday, Pena was removed from the courtroom for making numerous verbal outbursts. That came one day after he interrupted a mental health hearing with a series of loud outbursts.
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Pena was arrested on Jan. 22 of 2019 in connection to the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman who was last seen leaving a bar three days earlier in Boston. The woman was found in Pena's apartment after authorities established a timeline with the help of surveillance videos and traced a digital trail she left behind.
Police said surveillance video helped them establish a timeline from the night the woman went missing, from the moment she left Hennessy’s Bar to when she got on the MBTA with Pena. The pair was then seen again on surveillance in Charlestown, leading police to the building and unit where the woman and Pena were.
Prosecutors said the victim told investigators she woke up on Pena's mattress and he told her to be quiet or else he would kill her. He also told the woman he "rescued" her and that they were "going to start a family together."
Pena made the woman drink whiskey and vodka and read the Bible in Spanish while holding her in his Charlestown apartment for three days, prosecutors said. They said he made the victim pose for selfies with him and sexually assaulted her several times during the time she was held captive.
His family and his attorney have said he suffers from mental health issues and has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old, but he was declared competent to stand trial following a hearing last week.