LOS ANGELES – Accused serial rapist Darren Sharper appeared in court here again Friday and tried to look away.
With media cameras pointed at him in his orange jail uniform and handcuffs, the former NFL star turned sideways to avoid the unwanted attention.
Sharper once welcomed the limelight as a star player and then as a TV analyst for the NFL Network. But life has dramatically changed for him, and it got worse for his camp this week when new details emerged in his felony rape case in Arizona. Those details, which include potentially incriminating DNA evidence, might keep him in jail for at least another month or longer. As expected, Los Angeles Judge Renee Korn did not let Sharper out of jail Friday in Los Angeles, where he faces felony charges in the alleged date rapes of two women in October and January.
Korn set his next court date for May 16 and signed a protective order that forbids Sharper from contact with his two alleged victims in Los Angeles if he is released from custody in the future.
If a judge in Arizona had ruled in his favor Thursday on rape charges there, Sharper might have been released in California on Friday. But Arizona Judge Warren Granville denied him bond on the charge stemming from his alleged rape in Tempe of a woman identified in court as "Victim B."
"The court finds proof evident and the presumption great that victim B was the victim of a sexual assault committed by Mr. Sharper," Granville said in Phoenix on Thursday.
WHAT HAPPENED: The evidence in Arizona this week
Korn had cited Sharper's no-bond status in Arizona when she previously declined to release Sharper, who has been in jail since Feb. 27.
In the meantime, his attorneys' efforts to persuade a judge to set bail for Sharper suffered a setback Thursday with DNA evidence presented in Arizona, where Sharper is accused of drugging and raping two women on Nov. 21.
In a two-day hearing, Granville considered whether Sharper should be entitled to bond depending on the strength of the evidence. In his ruling, Granville cited evidence that showed DNA inside the woman's vagina that partially matched Sharper's DNA. The woman, "Victim B," had no prior relationship with Sharper and passed out after she consumed a drink he allegedly made for her at the apartment of her friend, according to testimony from Tempe police Det. Kevin Mace.
The woman has no recollection of what happened in the hours after taking the drink, Mace said. Another woman who lived at the apartment told police that when she left her bedroom to go to the bathroom that night, she witnessed Sharper, naked and making thrusting movements over Victim B on the couch, Mace testified.
Sharper's attorney in Arizona, Skip Donau, pointed out that the women in Arizona didn't call police and that no sperm from Sharper was found on the women there. But Arizona prosecutor Yigael Cohen had a surprise rebuttal in court on Thursday when he elicited testimony from Mace that he had learned about Sharper having undergone a vasectomy, which could explain any lack of sperm.
Sharper's attorneys argued that the DNA could have come from many sources.
"And you find the DNA is the most troubling of the case, but our expert has indicated that the most likely source of the DNA is saliva or skin," Donau said. "There is no sperm. This latest testimony (on Sharper's vasectomy) I think should be given no weight based on the fact that it hasn't been confirmed in any fashion."
Donau told the judge in Phoenix Thursday that there were "several reasonable explanations" for the possible presence of Sharper's DNA on Victim B. He said he picked her up to move her on the couch, slept on the same couch and could have drooled. He noted Victim B was fully clothed with boots on when she woke up.
Cohen questioned how those explanations could account for Sharper's DNA being found inside of Victim B. The internal vaginal DNA was found to be a match to Sharper on 12 of 16 loci, with the other four loci being inconclusive.
The other alleged rape victim in Arizona, identified as "Victim A," had a previous consensual sex relationship with Sharper and was not found to have any DNA on her or in her matching Sharper. Granville didn't find the evidence compelling enough to deny Sharper bond on that charge, or on three charges of illegally drugging a person.
Authorities suspect Sharper of date raping nine different women in five different states, most following a similar pattern. They say he partied with them, then raped them while they slept after he gave them drinks laced with the sleep drug zolpidem, also known by its brand name Ambien, for which Sharper has a prescription.
So far, only California and Arizona have formally charged him. Investigations remain open in New Orleans, Las Vegas and Miami Beach. He has pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles and denied the allegations through his attorney.
Sharper initially was arrested in Los Angeles on Jan. 17 and was released on $200,000 bond. After allegations in other states became known, Korn increased his bail to $1 million on Feb. 20.
He then turned himself in on Feb. 27 after authorities in New Orleans issued a warrant for his arrest. On March 7, Korn indicated she would release Sharper again on bail unless New Orleans' authorities filed formal charges. They did not do so, but Sharper was kept in jail when an Arizona grand jury indicted him on March 11.
Follow Brent Schrotenboer on Twitter @Schrotenboer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org