Tommy Ponce, Sr., 53, faces life in prison for raping a 21-year-old woman last year
VISALIA – A Visalia man was convicted last week of raping an unconscious woman.
On Nov. 19, a jury convicted Tommy Ponce, Sr., 53, of rape of an intoxicated person and rape of an unconscious person. In the late evening of Sept. 29, 2017, the 21-year-old female victim had been drinking heavily with her boyfriend and friends at a Visalia park. While walking along Mooney Boulevard with her boyfriend, the two met Ponce in a parking lot. On seeing her state of intoxication, Ponce offered to help get her home. After an argument with her boyfriend, she began walking home alone. The next day, she woke up in an unknown vehicle in a different parking lot on Mooney Blvd. with scratches and bruises to her body, along with vaginal bleeding. She responded to urgent care where a SART, or Sexual Assault Response Team exam was performed. DNA obtained from the exam matched Ponce’s in the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, which resulted in his arrest on Dec. 7, 2017. Ponce’s extensive criminal history includes a 2013 conviction for unlawful sex with a minor and domestic violence, a 2007 conviction for domestic violence and dissuading a witness, a 2002 conviction for domestic violence, and a 1992 conviction for robbery.
Judge Joseph Kalashian will preside over Ponce’s sentencing at a later date. Ponce faces over 40 years-to-life in prison. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Erica Gonzalez and investigated by Det. Jacob Sorensen of the Visalia Police Department.