The suspect in the March 24th sexual assault in Ocean Beach has been now charged with the August 25, 2012 sexual assault – which occurred in the same general vicinity as the more recent one. The D.A. says it was “the same M.O.”
Richard C. Butts pleaded not guilty to the late March assault, where he is charged with one count each of kidnapping with intent to commit a sexual assault, forced oral copulation and assault with intent to commit a sexual offense.
That assault on March 24 occurred late at night around 10:15 pm, as a 26-year-old woman was walking home in the 4800 block of Long Branch Avenue from a dinner at a friend’s house. Suddenly, a stranger ran up to her, grabbed her and gave her a bear hug. He then dragged her 30 to 40 feet to a more secluded area and sexually assaulted her. He had wrapped a sweater over her eyes, gagging her with it.
Fortunately, she was able to yell and scream for help and several neighbors immediately responded by running to the scene of the attack, chasing the assailant away. Butts was then arrested by police less than a half hour after the attack and close to the restrooms at Robb Field.
That block of Long Branch is in the northwest sector of OB.
And today, April 17th, Butts was charged with kidnapping and forcibly raping the woman victim of the August 25th assault of last year.
Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick told the press today:
“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. 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.”
“Again, it’s interrupted by neighbors hearing this young woman screaming for help.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.”
In the summer 2012 incident, a woman was coming home late – about 2:10 a.m. – and walking alone on the 4800 block of Muir Avenue. She had just left a friends’ party. It was dark in that part of the street. She was then “hit from behind” and initially unable to fight back. Locked in a choke hold, she began fighting back, as he attempted to drag her into the nearby alley. Unable to fully subdue her, the attacker continued hitting the woman in the face while pulling her hoodie over her face.
Does this sound familiar?
That block of Muir is very close to the Long Branch block where the second assault took place.
In the August 2012 incident, the brother of the victim, John Wilson, had posted a $5,000 reward, for any information leading to the arrest or conviction of the assailant of his sister. The police had complained that he was interfering with the investigation, and had asked him to take down his posters, but Wilson had refused.
Butts’ had had his bail at $300,000, but with the new charges, Judge David Szumowski — noting that the defendant is facing serious prison time — raised his bail to $1.5 million. A readiness conference was scheduled May 22 and a preliminary hearing for June 28. These are unlikely to actually be the dates, as often in serious cases such as this one, the defense lawyer gets postponements.
Additional news source: CBS8