A California man pleaded no contest to raping and murdering two young women on Monday, more than five years after he was apprehended after spit was found on a Los Angeles sidewalk.
Geovanni Borjas, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and forcible rape, as well as one count of kidnapping, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
He also admitted to the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, as well as murder in the commission of a rape and kidnapping.
Borjas admitted to sexually assaulting and killing 17-year-old Michelle Lozano and 22-year-old Bree’Anna Guzman more than a decade ago.
Lozano’s body was discovered wrapped in plastic bags and stuffed inside a container a day after her disappearance in April 2011 near the 5 Freeway in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. An autopsy revealed she had been strangled.
Guzman went missing in December 2011 while on her way to buy cough drops. According to police, her badly decomposed remains bearing the signs of unspecified neck trauma were discovered a month later near the 2 Freeway.
Both victims were sexually assaulted, and DNA evidence was recovered at both crime scenes, but there was no match in either the state or national criminal databases.
LAPD investigators then used a controversial DNA testing technique known as familial DNA testing, which allowed them to compare evidence from crime scenes to law enforcement databases to identify likely relatives of the perpetrator.
The search resulted in a match to Borjas’ father, whose DNA was on file from a prior arrest.
Detectives began to follow Borjas and collected his DNA after he spit on a sidewalk. The sample matched the DNA that was collected from the crime scenes, and Borjas was arrested in May 2017.
“Both families have endured a tremendous and incalculable loss,” DA Gascón said in a statement. “The pain for the victims’ families will never go away but I want to make sure they continue to receive the services they need as they move forward.
Borjas will be sentenced on December 12 and faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The death penalty was originally sought by prosecutors in the case, but it was dropped following the election of Gascón, who is opposed to the death penalty.
Guzman’s mother described the decision to spare Borjas’ life as a “slap in the face” to the victims’ families during a court hearing last year, according to ABC7.