A Willits man was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week for assaulting and attempting to rape a woman at a mall last fall, the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office reported.
According to DA David Eyster’s office, the defendant, Jose Miguel Perez, 24, pleaded guilty in April to a charge of “felony kidnapping with intent to commit rape and felony forcible assault likely to cause serious bodily harm”.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Perez approached and attacked a woman at the mall he did not know, “beat her repeatedly before dragging her against her will behind the grocery store in the mall where he tried to sexually assault her”, then allegedly “left her for dead.
A man on a bicycle in the area found the victim and called 911, and when law enforcement responded they were reportedly able to identify the suspect from surveillance cameras “which captured, among other , footage of the accused dragging the woman behind a trash can.”
On September 16, in Mendocino County Superior Court, Perez was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison by Judge Carly Dolan. Perez also reportedly “accepted as true an enhanced sentence that he personally inflicted serious bodily injury that caused the victim to lose consciousness due to traumatic brain injury.”
The prosecutor’s office notes that “the victim was present in the courtroom for sentencing and addressed Judge Dolan and those present in the courtroom, making a compelling statement about the impact of the victim”.
The DA’s office adds, “The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence used to convict the defendant were the Willits Police Department and investigators from the District Attorney’s Office.” The attorney who prosecuted the defendant from arraignment to conviction was Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.