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Monday, January 25, 2010

Suspected Killer of Transgender Prostitute Given Hefty Sentence for Other Crimes

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Ruby Ordenana was raped and murdered in 2007. DNA evidence collected from her body matches suspect Donzell Francis.
Sitting in Department 10 on Monday afternoon, Donzell Francis, 41, didn't react as the judge sentenced him to the maximum sentence of 17 years and 8 months in state prison. The convicted sexual predator and suspected murderer and rapist of transgender prostitutes just stood up to be handcuffed, retrieved his cane, and hobbled back to the jail.  

In late December, a jury had convicted him of forcible oral copulation, robbery, assault, and causing great bodily injury to Lena, a transgender prostitute whom he picked up in the Tenderloin in September of 2007. She wasn't Francis's first victim, and police are still unraveling multiple sexual assault cases that he appears to be involved with.

In 2001, Francis admitted to slashing a woman's face with a razor, and he went to prison for five years. In 2004, his DNA was placed in a state databank, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

In 2007, after Francis got out on parole, a string of transgender prostitutes were reportedly raped, and one of those -- Ruby Ordenana -- was also strangled to death and left naked near Interstate-280 in Potrero Hill.

Although police recovered DNA evidence from Ordenana's body in March of 2007, the SFPD crime lab didn't process that evidence for more than two years, said Lieutenant Lyn Tomioka, a police spokeswoman. Meanwhile, the attacks continued.

On September 10, 2007, Lena was walking near Geary and Leavenworth Streets when Francis drove up in a truck and asked if she needed a ride, according to the District Attorney's office. As the story goes, Lena got in the car and gave Francis directions, but he ignored her and locked the door.

Francis took Lena to an alley near Ninth and Market Streets and, she said, began punching her, pulling her hair, and removing her clothing. He forced her to perform oral sex on him, then struck her on the head with a closed fist and strangled her until she passed out. When she regained consciousness, Francis threatened to kill her if she didn't perform oral sex again. She refused, and he strangled her.

Francis then kicked Lena out of the truck, but kept her clothing and purse. As Francis drove away, Lena took note of his license plate. Then she ran home, called the police, and went to the hospital, where she was treated for an abrasion acros her hairline, bruising and swelling to the face, and tenderness in the neck. She had hemorrages in her eyes, possibly due to strangulation.  

The doctors swabbed Lena's mouth and hands during her sexual assault examination and found semen. The DNA from that semen matched that of Donzell Francis. Francis's DNA was then linked to the three additional cases of sexual assaults on transgender women, and the rape and murder of Ruby Ordenana. No charges have yet been filed in those cases.

Photo   |   Community United Against Violence

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Ashley Harrell


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