- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Billings man who tried to not leave any evidence behind during break-ins and rapes still helped prosecutors through photos and videos recovered from his cellphone, authorities said.

Toby Griego, 42, was convicted Monday of all 27 counts against him including 10 counts of rape along with robbery, kidnapping and attempted rape for crimes that occurred between Jan. 27 and July 2 in 2013. Jurors deliberated for just over three hours.

“Hopefully we have achieved a goal that he can never hurt another woman again,” Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Rod Souza said after the trial.

Griego appeared emotionless as the verdicts were read. Members of his family sobbed as he was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.

Four women testified that they awoke with a man in their bedroom. One woman was able to scream and get the intruder to leave.

The other three reported being bound and gagged and threatened with various weapons. They said they were repeatedly raped with objects the attacker found in their homes.

He hit them in the head if they tried to look at him, and they were forced to bathe or shower, they testified. Some heard clicking sounds like a camera. One woman was forced to drink large amounts of alcohol so quickly that she vomited.

One woman testified about being forced to withdraw money from an ATM. She said her attacker took her home, raped her again and dunked her in a water-filled ditch nearby. She was taken home and attacked again.

Prosecutors showed jurors images they said came from Griego’s cellphone taken in the women’s residences during the attacks. Griego took a picture of himself, as well, authorities said.

The defense did not call any witnesses, and Griego did not testify.

During closing arguments, Souza pointed out an image found on Griego’s cellphone and told jurors: “That is the face of evil. That is the face of the man who perpetrated these attacks.”

Defense attorney J. Thomas Bartleson said during his closing argument that there was no DNA or trace evidence connecting Griego to the rapes.

Investigators testified that Griego had shaved his head, wore a cap and gloves, and forced his victims to bathe or shower, eliminating the possibility of discovering DNA evidence or fingerprints.

Bartleson said the state did not prove the robbery charges because the items were not recovered.

Bartleson noted that prosecutors didn’t have the same caliber of evidence, such as videos and photos, of an attack on July 2, 2013. Prosecutors countered that the state had images from Griego’s phone that show the victim watering flowers outside her home six days before she was attacked.

“Hold him accountable for his reign of terror and find him guilty of all 27 charges,” Chief Deputy County Attorney Juli M. Pierce concluded.

A sentencing date has not been set.

___

Information from: The Billings Gazette, https://www.billingsgazette.com


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