Residents allegedly forced to strip in home invasion

Esmerelda Umana, Cordell Smithers and Pedro Umana are all charged in the home invasion

January 14, 2011 3:25:31 PM PST
Nightmare became reality for three people held at gunpoint during a violent home invasion earlier this week. One of the victims was sexually assaulted. It's a story that will make you think twice about opening your door for a stranger, especially in the middle of the night. It happened Tuesday at an apartment complex on Dixie near Culberson on Houston's south side.

Two of the suspects appeared in court Friday. The rape victim in this case was able to identify her alleged attacker in a photo lineup, along with other suspects accused of robbing her inside her home. Prosecutors are calling it one of the most horrific home invasions they have ever seen.

Pedro Umana blew a kiss to his family after a judge finished outlining the criminal charges against him. The 20-year-old is accused of rape and robbery.

Prosecutors say Umana, his sister, Esmerelda Umana, and her husband, Cordell Smithers, knocked on the victims' apartment door early Tuesday morning at around 4am. When someone answered, they stormed their way in at gunpoint.

"We know for a fact that two of the complainants were naked, bound inside the closet of the bedroom while the third female complainant was outside, naked, bound and was sexually assaulted at gunpoint," said prosecutor John Lewis.

Authorities say Smithers and his wife were busy ransacking the apartment before the trio allegedly escaped with jewelry in a car belonging to one of the occupants. Smithers was stopped while driving it.

His wife and her brother, the accused rapist, tried to flee but were caught by police.

Emily DeToto is Smithers' attorney.

"If Cordell was involved at all, his participation was very minimal," she told us. "It's not alleged that he had a weapon of any kind.

Prosecutors say the trio confessed to their roles in the crime after they were taken into custody. Pedro Umana is being held tonight on a $200,000 bond.