TORRANCE, Calif. -- A Southern California jury on Thursday deliberated the fate of a fortuneteller accused of convincing two teenage girls he could turnaround bleak futures if they had sex with him.
Cesar Duran is charged with nine counts, including forcible rape, lewd acts on a 14-year-old and unlawful intercourse with a minor.
The nine-woman, three-man Torrance jury heard closing arguments and began deliberations late Wednesday.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Lana Kim said the 47-year-old Inglewood fortuneteller tricked the girls into having sex with him by telling them bad things would happen and he could help.
Defense lawyer Gregory Humphries said Duran didn't commit any crime and the accusations were fabricated. The attorney also said Duran's videotaped confession came about because he was cold in a police interrogation room and wanted to end questioning.
One of the girls has testified that during the spring and summer of 2007, she was 16 when she met Duran on a street. She said he told her to pick up a leaf and crumple it so he could read her fortune.
Kim recalled for jurors that Duran told her she was lonely, going to die and bad things would happen to her family.
Kim said Duran met the girl at his home the following day and told her: "I can help you, but I have to be in you."
When the girl said she didn't understand, the prosecutor said Duran told her: "My spirit has to be in you." They eventually had sex at least six times, Kim said.
The other alleged victim testified she was 14 when she met Duran at the first victim's house. When she crushed a leaf, Duran allegedly peered at it and told her she would be a prostitute, have three children and die by the time she was 18.