Sanger man guilty of sexually abusing 10-year-old girl

A Sanger man faces life in prison after being convicted in Fresno County Superior Court of seven felony sex charges involving a 10-year-old girl.

A jury deliberated about two hours before convicting 31-year-old Orlando Morfin on Friday, prosecutor Brian Hutchins said.

Judge Houry Sanderson will sentence Morfin on April 29. Each count carries a penalty of either 15 years to life in prison or 25 years to life.

In August 2010, Sanger police accused Morfin of rape, sodomy and oral copulation of the 10-year old. Morfin, however, avoided prosecution for a year by fleeing to Mexico. With help from Mexican authorities, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force found Morfin in Mexico in August 2011. He’s been in Fresno County Jail ever since, awaiting trial.

Morfin was tried initially in August 2013. The jury found him guilty of felony sexual penetration of the 10-year-old and guilty of a misdemeanor charge of annoying another child under age 18, but jurors deadlocked 11-1 for guilt on seven other felony charges involving the 10-year-old, Hutchins said.

Because the verdict was not unanimous, Hutchins was allowed to retry Morfin. The retrial, in front of a different jury, led to his conviction Friday in Sanderson’s courtroom.

“On behalf of the victim and the Sanger community, we are pleased to see that justice will finally be served in the Orlando Morfin sexual assault case,” Sanger Police Chief Silver Rodriguez said Monday.

Rodriguez praised Sanger police Cpl. Jaimy Gaines (who has retired) with sticking with the case and working closely with the District Attorney’s office during the prosecution of Morfin.

“Morfin has eluded justice far too long and now will be held accountable for his actions,” Rodriguez said.