Fresno man accused of kidnapping professor takes stand in own defense

A former student accused of kidnapping his professor took the stand in court on Wednesday, allowing jurors to hear from Rodolfo Brambila directly.

“I had a backpack full of stuff,” he said. “(I) hopped over her fence. Sat in a little area there by her green trash can.”

While Action News cannot show Brambila’s face, he broke down several times, overcome with emotion as attorneys pressed him about that day in 2020.

Prosecutors have charged the 59-year-old with five counts of assault, false imprisonment, and kidnapping. Brambila denies them all.

Action News cannot name the victim, but she taught Brambila music classes at Fresno City College and privately.

“I considered her a very good friend,” Brambila said. “Over time, I developed feelings for her.”

Hundreds of messages between the two were shown in court. Brambila repeatedly asked to meet in person, telling the jury on Wednesday that he was lonely amid the pandemic.

“The isolation was driving me nuts,” he said. “I wasn’t functioning. I wasn’t going to school. I wanted to see her.”

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