Woman Testifies About Alleged Rape, Kidnapping, and Killing at South Bay Home, Reveals Victim’s Name

By | September 7, 2023

A woman took the stand in court this week, recounting her kidnapping, rape, and involvement in dismembering another woman’s body. Rafael Reyes Banda faces charges, including murder, in the death of the victim. The witness testified that Banda beat her and forced her to dismember the body. The hearing to determine if Banda will stand trial was postponed. The woman, referred to by her first name only, had a hazy memory and is currently held on unrelated charges. Banda has prior convictions and could face a life sentence if found guilty. David Hernandez reported

Chula Vista Woman Testifies in Shocking Kidnapping and Murder Case

CHULA VISTA — In a harrowing courtroom testimony, a woman recounted a terrifying ordeal of being kidnapped, raped, and coerced into dismembering another woman’s body in a South Bay home. The witness, whose identity remains protected, took the stand this week during a special hearing in the case against Rafael Reyes Banda. Banda, 44, is facing multiple charges, including murder, in relation to the death of Jayme Morton.

During the trial, the prosecution alleged that Banda brutally killed Morton with a machete. Morton’s lifeless body was discovered on March 15 inside Banda’s residence in Palm City, shortly after the courageous witness managed to escape from the house and seek help from a passerby.

The court postponed the hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial against Banda. However, the judge allowed the witness to testify to preserve her account of the events. Throughout her testimony, the woman referred to Banda as a nightmare, describing the horrific series of events that unfolded.

According to the woman’s testimony, she had encountered Banda approximately a week before the alleged crimes took place. At the time, she was homeless, struggling with drug addiction, and engaged in shoplifting. When she and a friend found themselves on the run, believing the police were after them, they sought refuge at Banda’s residence on Citrus Avenue, not far from the Palm Avenue trolley station.

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The woman and her friend found temporary shelter inside a converted garage on the property, where they ended up spending several hours with Banda, smoking methamphetamine. Although they left some belongings behind, the woman returned alone to Banda’s home the following day.

To her horror, she discovered Jayme Morton in the converted garage with her hands bound. Banda immediately launched into a violent assault on Morton, accusing her of stealing his belongings. The witness testified that Banda repeatedly punched Morton in the face, inflicting severe injuries.

At one point, Banda sent the woman to a nearby store to purchase plastic food wrap, claiming it was for smuggling drugs across the border. Despite suspecting that she was being followed, the woman did not attempt to escape, fearing for Morton’s safety.

Upon her return, Banda subjected the witness to rape, choking, and further physical abuse. Terrified for her life, the woman recounted the bizarre demands Banda made and the continuous assaults she endured throughout the day. However, the worst was yet to come.

Banda instructed the woman to dismember Morton’s body and wrap it in plastic. He handed her a large, menacing knife and ordered her to carry out the gruesome task. In her desperate attempt to comply, the witness accidentally cut her own face while wrapping her body in a piece of tarp-like plastic.

Eventually, Banda fell asleep, providing the woman with a fleeting opportunity to escape. On March 15, around noon, she managed to flag down a passing driver who immediately contacted the authorities.

During her testimony, the woman expressed her fear and guilt, believing she may have inadvertently caused Morton’s death. She claimed that Banda had threatened to kill her if she did not comply with his demands.

In a shocking turn of events, Deputy District Attorney Joshua Brisbane presented the witness with a photograph of what appeared to be a dismembered limb. Overwhelmed with emotion, she vehemently denied any involvement in such a gruesome act, directing her anger and hatred towards Banda across the courtroom. In a fit of rage, she hurled a stress ball at Banda, who sat a few feet away.

Under cross-examination by Banda’s defense attorney, the woman admitted that her memory of the events was somewhat hazy. The hearing is set to continue on Thursday. Currently, the witness is being held at the Las Colinas Detention Facility on unrelated charges, including grand theft.

Banda, who already has two prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon in 1999 and 2009, faces the possibility of spending more than 120 years to life in prison if convicted on all charges.

The chilling trial continues to grip the attention of the community as the search for justice in this heinous crime unfolds..

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