OB man to stand trial for 2 suspected rape attempts
by Neal Putnam
Aug 21, 2013 | 2350 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A judge ordered an Ocean Beach man on Aug. 16 to stand trial for kidnapping and sexually assaulting two women in Ocean Beach, cases in which DNA evidence linked him to both attacks, according to testimony.

At the end of the preliminary hearing, Richard Christopher Butts, 26, pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts and a trial date was set for Dec. 13 by San Diego Superior Court Judge David Gill.

Butts is charged with kidnapping both women with intent to commit rape and oral copulation, charges that carry life terms in prison if he is convicted.

He is also charged with rape, forcible oral copulation and two counts of assault with intent to commit rape and oral copulation.

Butts was arrested by police on

March 24 after a young woman was sexually assaulted in the early morning hours while she was walking along Long Branch Avenue in Ocean Beach.

She testified a man with Butts’ general description grabbed her and dragged her to a dark area between a garage and a fence.

Adam Dutra, a criminalist with the police department, testified that DNA found on the victim in the March 24 assault matched the DNA evidence found in a previous unsolved rape in Ocean Beach that took place on Aug. 25, 2012.

Det. Cory Gilmore testified the distance between the sidewalk and the location where the March 24 victim was dragged was about 80 feet.

Gilmore said the victim was wearing flip-flops and impressions of flip-flops and tennis shoes were found in the dirt near the garage, as well as drag marks.

Gilmore testified the homeowner was not in the nearby house the night of the assault. A chart was displayed that showed Butts lived a few blocks from both attacks.

The victim in the March 24 assault testified it was dark and she could not see her attacker’s face. She said she screamed, but her attacker put his hand over her mouth and she had trouble breathing. She stopped screaming, but screamed again after most of her clothing was removed.

Witness Hali Moore testified she was pet sitting at a client’s house on Long Branch Street and heard the woman’s screams. She said she and her partner ran outside and saw Butts as he was running away.

Moore said they called 9-1-1 and she identified Butts as the man who was running away. She said a police dispatcher told her to stop chasing the man for her own safety. Moore said she chased Butts to Cable Street until “I lost him on Abbott Street.”

Moore said she went back to find the terrified victim.

“She was shaking. She was hurt,” said Moore.

The victim, whose identity is being withheld, testified in court.

“I saw a man with a hoodie running toward me,” said the victim. “By the time I started to run for it, he grabbed me.”

The victim said her attacker had his hand around her neck, somewhat suffocating her.

“I began to fear for my life. I was afraid if I kept struggling … I would die,” she said.

She said she told the suspect, “If you let me go, I’ll be quiet.”

Det. James Hunter testified Butts was detained near Robb Field and had dirt on his jeans. He said Butts admitted to assaulting the victim and claimed he wanted to “sexually arouse her.”

“He (said) he was looking for a fight. He was looking for violence,” said Hunter.

Hunter said he asked Butts if he wanted to write a letter of apology to the victim, and Butts reportedly did so after being interviewed.

The first rape occurred on Muir Avenue near Bacon Street. That victim was bruised and bloodied, and the judge was presented color photos taken of the victim during her hospitalization. Madeline Marini, a hospital nurse, testified the victim described herself as “freaking out” as a result of the ordeal.

Shawn Montpetit, a DNA technical manager for police, testified the DNA evidence from both cases matched Butts. He said the odds of a random match is “one in 87 quintillion,” which he noted contains 18 zeros.

Butts’ attorney and Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick submitted the case to the judge without any argument. Butts remains in custody on $300,000 bail.
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