SAN DIEGO - A man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman as she walked home from a friend's house in Ocean Beach was charged today with kidnapping and raping another woman in the same area in August last year.
Richard Christopher Butts, 25, pleaded not guilty last month to one count each of kidnapping with intent to commit a sexual assault, forced oral copulation and assault with intent to commit a sexual offense.
On Wednesday, Butts was charged with kidnapping and forcibly raping a second woman Aug. 25. The attack happened close to where the March 24 sexual assault occurred, Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick said.
"Same M.O., the female victim was walking down the street at night in Ocean Beach, about a block and a half away from where the March attack occurred," Patrick said. "The defendant runs up behind her, strikes her on
the head and on the back, grabs her around the neck, drags her down a long driveway into a place of seclusion. Again, same facts, basically the same pattern as the March case.
Patrick credits vigilant neighbors for stopping both attacks.
"Again, it's interrupted by neighbors hearing this young woman screaming for help," the prosecutor said. "The neighbors in Ocean Beach again interrupt this sex crime as well, by yelling out, by getting on the phone
calling 911, becoming actively involved, despite the fact that it was in the middle of the night and there was lots of other noise going on."
Patrick said the attack last month happened about 10:15 p.m. as the victim tried to make her way home after dinner at a friend's house.
The prosecutor said the defendant ran up to the victim, put her in a bear hug, dragged her 30 to 40 feet to a secluded area and sexually assaulted her.
A 911 caller reported the woman screaming for help near Bacon and Voltaire streets. When witnesses ran to her aid, the assailant bolted toward Robb Field, San Diego police Detective Gary Hassen said. Patrol officers found him near the park a short time later and arrested him.
Butts faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted. Judge David Szumowski -- noting that the defendant is facing serious prison time -- raised bail from $300,000 to $1.5 million.
A readiness conference was scheduled May 22 and a preliminary hearing for June 28.