SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A 56-year-old transient suspected of trying to kidnap two women he assaulted in San Jose last week was arraigned in court Wednesday.
David Lee Russell is facing multiple charges that include attempted kidnapping to commit a sexual offense, prosecutors said.
Russell’s left arm was in a cast when he appeared before Superior Court Judge Allison Danner at the Hall of Justice in San Jose this afternoon. He wore glasses and a jail uniform that consisted of a brown shirt and red pants.
Danner issued a no-contact protective order for Russell on behalf of the two victims in the case and kept him in custody without bail.
Russell didn’t enter a plea and his next court appearance was scheduled for Sept. 14.
Prosecutors plan to pursue a life prison sentence for Russell, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Michael Amaral said after today’s hearing.
In separate but similar situations, the defendant allegedly followed both victims, approached them, covered their heads with a sweatshirt and attempted to pull them into his vehicle, Amaral said.
Both victims were women who were strangers to the defendant, according to Amaral.
The first incident happened on Aug. 29 near Meridian and Hamilton avenues in the city’s Willow Glen neighborhood around 5 p.m., police said.
Investigators were able to identify Russell as a suspect through security video obtained from a Goodwill of Silicon Valley store on Meridian Avenue, where the suspect was seen contacting one of the victims, Amaral said.
A still photo from the surveillance footage was distributed to the public. Someone recognized the suspect and notified authorities, according to Amaral.
“Identity could’ve been an issue, but the video helped establish who Mr. Russell was,” Amaral said.
The second victim was approached three days later, also around 5 p.m., in the southern area of the city by Hillsdale and Narvaez avenues, according to police.
In both cases, bystanders caught Russell in the act. One was a man who drove by and made a U-turn to stop the suspect, Amaral said.
A witness in the other encounter was an employee working in the area who saw the incident and ran closer to the crime scene, according to Amaral.
Russell fled when he was spotted. The victims were left with minor injuries, but didn’t need medical treatment, Amaral said.
Investigators found Russell driving in a silver Hyundai Sonata near Oakland Road and Charles Street around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and arrested him, police said.
Russell is a convicted sex offender who has violently assaulted women in the past and found with an outstanding no-bail warrant for misdemeanor DUI at the time of his arrest, police said.
The 56-year-old man has past offenses of sexual battery and assault with the intent to commit a specified sex crime, according to his profile through the state Megan’s Law database.
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