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After DNA Obtained from Spit on California Sidewalk, Man Faces Life in Prison for 2011 Rapes and Murders of Teen Girl and Young Woman

Geovanni Borjas via LAPD

Geovanni Borjas via LAPD

A 38-year-old man in California will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after admitting that the state has enough evidence to convict him of raping and killing a teenage girl and a young woman before dumping their bodies next to Los Angeles freeways.

Geovanni Borjas on Monday pleaded no contest to two counts each of first-degree murder and forcible rape in the brutal 2011 deaths of Michelle Lozano, 17, and Bree’Anna Guzman, 22, authorities announced.

Michelle Lozano and Bree’Anna Guzman, via FBI

Bree’Anna Guzman and Michelle Lozano, via FBI

Additionally, Borjas also pleaded to one count of kidnapping Guzman and admitted to the special circumstance allegations of committing multiple murders and committing murder in the commission of a rape and a kidnapping, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He had initially pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

“Both families have endured a tremendous and incalculable loss. 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,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement Monday. “Mr. Borjas finally took account for his heinous actions and is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison. I also want to thank the investigators and prosecutors in this case and recognize their hard work that led to today’s result.”

Lozano was last seen on April 24, 2011 until her body was discovered one day later alongside the Interstate 5 in Boyle Heights, the release states. Her remains had been wrapped in several plastic bags and placed inside of a large plastic container, according to a report from Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC-TV.

Guzman was last seen in late December 2011. Her body was found partially clothed on Jan. 26, 2012 near the Glendale Freeway.

Authorities say that both Lozano and Guzman were sexually assaulted and that DNA evidence recovered from the crime scenes helped investigators tie Borjas to the slayings.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office determined that Lozano’s cause of death was strangulation, NBC reported. The office could reportedly only determine that Guzman sustained “unspecified neck trauma” due to the body being badly decomposed.

Borjas was initially arrested in May 2017 and charged with murder, rape, and kidnapping, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Following his arrest, Charlie Beck, then-Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, said that investigators used “the rare and controversial tactic of familial DNA testing” to identify Borjas as the suspected killer. The method reportedly lets investigators use a suspect’s DNA to search multiple law enforcement databases and identify their relatives.

“After the familial search, a person was identified as a contributory match to the suspect,” Beck reportedly said. “That individual was (the) suspect’s father, who was arrested on a non-sexual-assault-type crime earlier in his life.”

Beck reportedly said that LAPD detectives tasked with following Borjas were able to get a DNA sample from him after he spit on the sidewalk. Investigators then tested his DNA against samples obtained from the two victims and found that they matched.

Prosecutors were originally planning to pursue the death penalty against Borjas, but Gascón’s office withdrew the case from capital consideration after Gascón was elected based in-part on a campaign promise to end the death penalty in the county.

Borjas is scheduled to appear before a judge for his sentencing hearing on Dec. 12.

[Images via LAPD and FBI]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.