A man convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting two 15-year-old girls about three weeks apart last year in Lancaster refused to leave his cell Thursday, forcing a delay of his sentencing.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Henry J. Hall noted that he had issued
an “extraction” order for Joseph Kenneth Cornett after the inmate refused to leave his cell, and was subsequently informed that Cornett was taken to a hospital when the inmate indicated that he had fallen from a “transportation chair” after being brought to the courthouse.
The judge ordered Cornett, 42, to be extracted from his cell Monday and to be brought to court in a “safety seat.”
Cornett is facing a potential life prison term with the possibility of parole, along with lifetime sex offender registration.
He was found guilty March 24 of two counts each of forcible rape, committing a lewd act on a child and kidnapping to commit rape, along with one count each of sexual penetration by a foreign object, assault with intent to commit rape, assault with intent to commit sodomy, assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, furnishing marijuana to a minor and possession of PCP.
Jurors also convicted him of seven counts of resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer.
The charges stemmed from attacks on a girl who accepted a ride from Cornett on April 13, 2015, and another teen who was targeted while walking home from school last May 6.
Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami told jurors “that the defendant is nothing more than a serial rapist.”
Investigators tied the Lancaster man to the unsolved rape case from April following his arrest in connection with the attack in May, according to the prosecution.
The attack in April involved a girl who had run away from home and ducked into a garage where she encountered Cornett and two other men, Hatami told jurors.
Cornett offered to drive the teen home, but instead took her “all the way out into the desert … pulled her into the dirt and he raped her,” the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor said Cornett then told the girl, “Let’s do this again.
And this time, let’s do it right, with no screaming,” before raping her again.
Hatami acknowledged that the teen smoked marijuana provided to her by Cornett and that she had run away from home, but said “that didn’t mean she deserved to be raped.”
The girl who was attacked in May was walking home from school when Cornett stopped his car and told her she could be arrested for jaywalking.
Cornett “promised to take her home” but instead drove her to an abandoned trailer, ordered her to get out of the car and assaulted her, according to the prosecutor.
The girl “pleaded with the defendant to let her go” and then ran out of the trailer without any pants, underwear or shoes when he wasn’t looking, Hatami said.
She sought help from a motorist, who called 911 while others nearby rushed to the scene and some confronted Cornett. The bystanders chased Cornett, who jumped into his car, which ultimately got stuck in a sandy ditch.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived, “he resisted … grabbed one of the deputies … (and) had to be Tased, I believe, three times,” Hatami said.
The prosecution was barred during the trial from introducing any evidence about Cornett’s alleged admission that he was HIV-positive.