El Cajon man accused of stalking college student to stand trial

SAN DIEGO - A college student came face-to-face with the man she said stalked her for four years.

Taylor Woolrich, 20, testified during a preliminary hearing for Richard Bennett, an East County man she first met as a 16-year-old barista in a Lakeside coffee shop.

Bennett, who was dressed in navy blue prison garb, never said a word during the hearing.

In court on Wednesday, Woolrich testified Bennett came to her coffee shop every day, appeared at events she was attending and emailed her constantly.

"His messages kept coming," a teary-eyed Woolrich said from the stand. "They (the emails) were so out there."

Prosecutors went through more than 20 emails Bennett sent Woolrich.

"I felt like he was a borderline sexual predator," she said.

Woolrich filed a restraining order and her family moved from the El Cajon area to Ramona. Somehow, Bennett found them, and showed up on their doorstep the day Woolrich came home from college this summer. 

Bennett told 10News in a jailhouse interview he was offering them landscaping services.

"The restraining order is against this woman, this girl, and I went to visit the parents," he said from behind a glass wall.

Woolrich's mother Jessica Lincoln answered the door, recognized Bennett and screamed for her husband, who just happens to be San Diego police Detective Steve Lincoln. He testified that he charged out the door at Bennett screaming at him to "get the (expletive) out of here."

"He just stood there, indifferent and smirked at me," testified Lincoln, Woolrich's stepdad.

The family posted about Bennett's appearance on a community blog. Shortly thereafter, someone responded to the blog, saying Bennett's red SUV was spotted nearby.

Lincoln, armed and off-duty, found the SUV and followed Bennett in his own car. He followed Bennett as he drove by the family home one more time, even slowing in front.

Lincoln called 911 and alerted deputies about what was going on. He then guided deputies to where he was following Bennett. A traffic stop turned into an arrest. Deputies searched Bennett's vehicle and discovered items a deputy testified were meant for "some kind of illegal activity." The items included a rope, flashlight and gloves.

The judge ordered Bennett to stand trial on two felony charges and one misdemeanor. He is expected back in court in September.

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