Published October 16, 1997 by Jeff Jardine, Bee Staff Writer

Was Jason Ciari of Riverbank serious when he allegedly asked his girlfriend to kill his ex-girl-friend?

That, among other charges, is what a jury must decide in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

Ciari, 21, of Riverbank is facing one count of soliciting for murder, four forcible rape counts and other sexual assault charges.

The jury of 10 men and two women heard testimony from an undercover officer and from the woman who claims Ciari offered to pay her $300 to kill his previous girlfriend.

The woman, whose name The Bee is withholding because she also is an alleged rape victim, said that in a period of two weeks in June, Ciari asked her three times to kill the ex-girl-friend, whom he believed was pregnant with his child. She already had aborted the pregnancy, investigators said.

He also claimed the ex-girl-friend had wrecked his Jeep and owed him money, the woman said.

She said he wanted the ex-girlfriend beaten up either to cause a miscarriage or to kill her.

"I thought he was insane," the woman said.

The woman also testified that the defendant raped her twice during a two-week relationship, and also had previously raped her sister. The woman said she later called the ex-girlfriend to warn her of Ciari's intentions. The ex-girlfriend then contacted police.

In cross-examination, defense attorney Robert Forkner questioned why the woman waited 10 days before warning the ex-girl-friend.

The witness claimed that she was looking for a place to live during that time.

The trial, which began Tuesday afternoon, is expected to last one week.