SANTA ANA – A Chicago man told an Orange County jury he punched his ex-girlfriend in the face, pushed her in the gutter and bashed her head into the curb in “a rash impulse,” but never intended to kill her, according to his testimony last week.
The woman survived the 2009 attack by Mark Alan Jarosik, 46, in her Ladera Ranch neighborhood, but was left with physical impairments including memory loss, prosecutors said. Jarosik was angry after being previously accused of raping the woman, he said.
The woman screamed out of fear when he ran over to her car and confronted her, holding up her hands to protect herself, Jarosik said.
The architect accused of rape and attempted murder testified over nearly two days last week – at times tearfully – and is expected to conclude his testimony Monday.
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker told jurors that Jarosik was out on bail on charges of rape and attempted sodomy and in violation of a restraining order when he punched the woman, threw her on the ground and “brutally banged her head” over and over into the curb until he was subdued by neighbors.
Jarosik had intended to speak with the woman when he went to retrieve his belongings after he was bailed out from Orange County jail by his mother in 2009, but he “lost it,” according to his testimony.
Labeling himself narcissistic, the man explained to the Orange County panel in Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseño’s courtroom how his life unraveled after he and the woman had a relationship for about four years that began with an extramarital affair in Las Vegas.
Jarosik called himself a pig for starting the affair while both he and the woman were married with children. After separating from their spouses, Jarosik left his architect firm in Chicago to move to California, eventually moving in with his then-girlfriend.
He told jurors he was unable to move forward after he was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting her “because I failed at my marriage and I didn’t want (his girlfriend) and I to fail.”
The defendant acknowledged that while he struggled to find work after getting laid off from an Irvine firm in 2008, he was jealous that his then-girlfriend had no difficulty networking, was pretty, energetic and had a lot of potential.
He said he blamed every single problem in his life on her even before she accused him of rape.
And when she pressed rape charges, Walker asked, that was more than you could bear?
“Yes,” Jarosik responded.
If convicted on multiple charges, including soliciting an Orange County jail inmate to kill his ex-girlfriend, he faces a potential 29 years to life in state prison.
Jarosik told the inmate how he wanted the woman’s death to be “slow, painful and he wants it videotaped because he wants to watch it for Christmas,” Walker said.
Defense attorney Michael Molfetta posed a series of questions to his client asking him to help explain his actions to the jury, including how he went from not wanting to harm the woman to wanting her dead in a conversation with a jailhouse inmate recorded by police.
“I was scared … what am I gonna do? It just built up,” answered Jarosik. While in jail, he had time to think about how those who cared for him had told him he was making the wrong decision in leaving his wife and kids, he added.
“I felt I embarrassed everyone,” Jarosik said. “I felt I made all the wrong decisions.”
“She was my life. The kids were my life,” Jarosik added when Molfetta asked him how he reconciled wanting to win the woman back with what was heard in the recording. “I felt I couldn’t go back to my family and be a failure.”
He testified the couple’s relationship soured after he was laid off and the bills kept coming, all of which he said he was paying. The woman, he said, was “hounding” him for money, but during cross-examination he acknowledged he wasn’t paying for everything.
The couple had consensual sex and he never raped his ex-girlfriend, Jarosik said.
“(I’m) the guy who’d do anything to make her happy,” Jarosik responded when Molfetta asked whether the real Mark Jarosik was the one gave up everything for the woman or the one who bashed her head into the curb. “I feel awful. I feel disgust … I’d never ever want to hurt her, but I did. I can never take that back.”
“I am not that monster. I am not that guy (who attacked the woman). I am a family man,” he added. “I am not some crazed lunatic running around. I gotta get home to a career, to my children. I happened to fall. I didn’t expect it to be this way. I didn’t want to kill her.”
Jurors are expected to begin weighing Jarosik’s fate in the next couple of days.
By VIK JOLLY/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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