Attorney questions accuser’s sanity |

Attorney questions accuser’s sanity

by Maggie O'Neill

A man accused of holding captive and raping a woman for nearly a week at his Gardnerville home spent five years in prison in connection with the murder of a convenience store clerk in 1973, his attorney told a judge Friday.

Defense attorney Arnold Brock mentioned Kenneth Pestana’s conviction to show since Pestana’s release around 1978, the 48-year-old man has had little trouble and should be released on his own recognizance.

“We certainly dispute these charges the individual alleges and we will fight them tooth and nail,” Brock said.

The attorney said he could produce a witness, a friend of the victim, who claims the allegations were fabricated.

“We think there is a very serious problem with this (victim’s) mental state,” Brock said.

Justice of the Peace Jim EnEarl asked Pestana about the 1973 conviction.

“(Another man) and I went to a 7-Eleven and he went inside and shot the clerk,” he said. “I was out in my truck.”

Pestana also has a 1992 charge for inflicting corporal injury upon his spouse.

EnEarl refused to decrease the $500,000 bail, saying past criminal convictions coupled with other claims of violence contributed to his decision.

“Mr. Brock, I need to tell you the charges against your client are extremely serious,” EnEarl said. “Certainly everything in this (matter) is subject to proof.”

Pestana was arrested Wednesday at his Centerville Lane home by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team. He was booked into jail on suspicion of felony kidnapping with the use of a deadly weapon, sexual assault with the use of a deadly weapon, two counts of sexual assault and supplying a controlled substance.

According to the 19-year-old victim, during the first week of September she awoke to find Pestana had handcuffed her to the bed.

“(Pestana) threatened her ‘If you leave, I’ll kill you, your family, your children, and your friends,'” said Douglas County Chief Criminal Prosecutor Kristine Brown.

The victim told police she was sexually assaulted at knifepoint for nearly a week.

Brown said investigators recovered a knife, handcuffs and a mattress that bore a slice in it from Pestana’s home.

“This is not just an uncorroborated statement,” Brown said.

Pestana, 48, will appear in court again at 9 a.m. Oct. 13.