EL CAJON, Calif. - A man accused of forcing an 18-year-old student into her car at knifepoint in a Grossmont College parking garage must stand trial on a charge of assault with intent to commit rape, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Deputy District Attorney Nicole Roth alleges that the victim was leaning into her car shortly before 11:30 a.m. Oct. 22 at the western El Cajon campus when Anthony Jerome Washington Jr., 26, forced her into the vehicle.
The victim, who was only identified as Melissa P., testified about her frightening ordeal in court on Wednesday.
"He just kind of pushed me from my shoulders in and told me to get in the car," she said.
Roth asked her about the terrifying moments when she came face-to-face with her attacker.
When asked if she saw anything in the defendant's hands at the time, she responded, "A knife."
When asked if she saw the knife before or after he pushed her, she answered, "I don't remember … as soon as I was like on my back, I saw the knife."
Roth alleges that Washington had gone to the college with the specific purpose of "taking sex." Those were the same words he told 10News during a jailhouse interview days after the attack.
"I was hearing voices to do bad things, to girls. To go get um, sex," he during the interview.
As the woman struggled to free herself, student Javier Partida was driving by in his car looking for a parking space when he saw what was happening.
“Her legs were spread out under him,” he said Wednesday on the witness stand. “I started honking my horn until I got a reaction.”
That reaction was Washington walking away quickly. Partida helped the victim call for police.
Deputies assigned to patrol the college then searched the campus, found a man matching the description of the attacker nearby and took Washington into custody.
When deputies arrested Washington, he had an 8-inch kitchen knife with a 4-inch blade inside his jacket.
After being arrested, Washington allegedly confessed that he had planned to rape the student "and do whatever he had to in order to get his way," said San Diego County sheriff's Sgt. Vic Perry.
Judge Daniel Goldstein ruled that enough evidence was presented at Wednesday's preliminary hearing for Washington to proceed to trial on Feb. 3. A readiness conference was set for Jan. 15.