MOUNTAIN VIEW — A man was convicted this week of viciously assaulting a woman on the Stevens Creek Trail in 2019, a rare stranger attack that raised serious public safety fears and risked going unsolved if not for a chance arrest a few days later, according to authorities and court records.
Jurors found 34-year-old Michael Adonis guilty Tuesday of kidnapping for the purpose of rape as well as several other felony counts including assault, dissuading a witness by threatening force and criminal threats.
Adonis, a French citizen, faces seven years to life in prison for the kidnapping conviction. A second trial phase will begin Dec. 14 to determine his sentence for the remainder of the convictions, which would top out around 10 years and be added onto his pending kidnapping sentence.
“This was a horrific and violent kidnapping and sexual assault committed on a stranger,” said Brian King, a Santa Clara County deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case. “The crime was a nightmare but in the end, justice prevailed.”
Mountain View police reported that the assault occurred on Feb. 25, 2019 near the bridge to Creekside Park not far from the trailhead off Central Avenue. The victim, a woman in her 30s who was visiting from Massachusetts for work, was walking back to her Airbnb rental home after an evening in downtown Mountain View when she noticed Adonis following her.
As the woman, identified in court as Jane Doe, walked underneath Highway 85, Adonis reportedly approached her and peppered her with a series of questions: Could they be friends, why was she walking so fast, did she have a boyfriend? Police say Doe tried to ignore him, but moments later, Adonis grabbed her “forcefully,” prompting her to try to hit him with her umbrella, which he grabbed and tossed away.
Doe screamed and tried to call police, but Adonis punched her, threw her to the ground and dragged her off the trail and behind a large utility box, according to the investigation. He also wrested away her phone and tossed it.
While fighting with her on the ground, Adonis reportedly pulled down Doe’s pants, at which point she bit him on the hand. The struggle escalated to Adonis choking Doe to near unconsciousness and threatening to use a knife on her if she continued to fight him.
At one point, Adonis backed off slightly, which gave Doe the opportunity to break free and run back toward the trail. That’s when she ran into a father and daughter who called 911.
In the wake of the attack, Doe provided a description of Adonis, but he could not be readily identified or located. But Adonis elicited police attention four days later after he was arrested on suspicion of slapping a woman in their shared Airbnb rental home on Santa Clara Avenue in Mountain View.
King said it was during that chance encounter that police officers, led by Sgt. Robert Medina, realized that Adonis matched the suspect description given by Doe. Additionally, he had visible bite marks on his hands and a search of the home recovered a gray Golden State Warriors sweatshirt that matched eyewitness accounts of the suspect.
From there, investigators tapped the Santa Clara County Crime Lab to examine DNA evidence from the attack, and they linked genetic and fingerprint evidence from Doe’s clothes and phone to Adonis, authorities said.
Doe, the father and daughter who helped her, and several other witnesses testified at trial, which began Oct. 17. Jurors returned a guilty verdict after less than two hours of deliberations. In addition to the kidnapping and assault convictions, Adonis was also found guilty of battery in the slapping incident and of illegally obstructing the use of a wireless communication device when he grabbed and tossed Doe’s phone.
King lauded the work of Mountain View police in connecting Adonis to the crime, and the courage of Doe and others who testified.
“She showed incredible resilience and strength,” King said of Doe. “When this crime happened, it was widely covered and was something people were justifiably worried about. And we made sure no stone was unturned.”