SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A prominent Australian DJ pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he attempted to kidnap a two-year-old boy while the youngster was walking with his mother on a San Francisco Castro District street.
Prosecutors have charged Roscoe Holyoake, 34, from East Victoria Park, Australia, with kidnapping and child endangerment for the alleged snatching, which occurred near Noe and 17th streets around 12:25 p.m. last Friday.READ MORE: 'Amazon One' Contactless Payment Palm Reader Debuts On Santana Row In San Jose
Deputy Public Defender Stephen Olmo is representing Holyoake, who goes by the name DJ Roski. Olmo told reporters outside the courtroom there was “no evil intent” to his client’s actions.
“I think there was just a break with no evil intent,” he said. “It makes no sense for the man that I’ve gotten to know in the last 2 days…Just kind of a mental disengagement with reality. A brief one. More information will be coming out about that.”
Prosecutors were not commenting on the public defender’s claims.
“The charges are serious,” Alex Bastian, spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, said. “There was a child who was involved in case, obviously for all of us that was very concerning.”
Given Holyoake’s fame, the case has captured the attention of the Australian people and press.
“He’s certainly prominent in west Australia,” said Charles Croucher, a reporter for 9 News Australia. “It’s surprised everybody back in Australia that one of our own would be doing something like this, or something like he’s accused of doing.”READ MORE: UPDATE: Oakland City Council Meeting Debates Adding Police After Spike in Homicides
The alleged kidnapping unfolded last Friday when a 32-year-old woman was walking west on 17th Street while pushing a stroller with her toddler son walking just behind her, court records said.
The woman suddenly noticed Holyoake allegedly holding her son, with his arms wrapped around the boy’s rear. The woman then screamed and grabbed Holyoake’s arm with one hand and tried to grab the boy with her other hand.
As she tried to pull her son toward her while yelling, “what are you doing?” Holyoake pulled the boy toward him but was unsuccessful, according to court records.
Once the woman had her son back in her arms, she began yelling for help. Holyoake fled on foot while being pursued by a Good Samaritan — Adam Walker, who ran down the Aussie and detained him until police arrived.
“Shortly after walking by her, that’s when we heard the struggle, we heard her in distress,” Walker told KPIX 5. “Once I saw the man running away, just that fatherly instinct kicked in.”
Holyoake, an Australian citizen, is reportedly in the U.S. on a visa through 2023, according to court records.MORE NEWS: Alameda County to Close Hotels Used For Homeless Without Additional Funding
If convicted of the charges, Holyoake could face up to eight years in prison, court records said.