Defense: More Investigation Needed for Rossmoor Stabbing Trial

The defense attorney for an 18-year-old accused of stabbing a Rossmoor jogger is expected to ask for more time to investigate the case today.

The case of a Rossmoor man accused of stabbing a female jogger multiple times will most likely be postponed Wednesday to allow the defense more time to investigate, an Orange County prosecutor said Tuesday.

Though a judge scheduled James Anthony Rivas, 18, to return to court Wednesday,  for allegedly trying to kill a Rossmoor jogger Oct. 9 – the hearing date will probably be continued at least a month, according to Brett Brian, Orange County Senior Deputy District attorney.

At the next hearing date, Brian said he plans to call to the stand the police officers who responded to the scene of the crime, as well as officers who interviewed witnesses. However, he said, he did not plan to call the victim to the stand until the trial because he doesn't want to force her to undergo a harrowing questioning more than once.

Brian said he recently poke with Rivas’ defense attorney Mark Fredrick,  who wanted more time to investigate the case. The best-case scenario would be for the hearing to return to court within a month, added Brian.

“I’m hoping that we can get this done sooner rather than later,” Brian said. “Nobody wants to see this drawn out any more.”

According to Brian, on Wednesday, the defense will most likely ask for a continuance of the scheduled preliminary hearing and the prosecution will not object to the delay. The purpose of the hearing is for the judge to determine if there is enough evidence to move forward with the trial.

On Nov. 5, Rivas pleaded not guilty to one count each of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, mayhem and attempted second-degree robbery, with sentence-enhancing allegations of attempted premeditated murder and inflicting great bodily harm, according to court records.

If convicted of all charges, Rivas faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison.

According to the prosecutors, at about 9 p.m. Oct. 9, Rivas allegedly approached a 27-year-old woman who was jogging through a residential neighborhood in Rossmoor. Rivas then allegedly snuck up behind the woman, grabbed her and stabbed her several times with a knife, cutting her face, back, arm and hand.

After she knocked the knife out of his hand, Rivas allegedly picked the knife up again and chased her and continued to stab her. Rivas is also accused of fleeing the scene after a neighbor heard screaming and came outside. The woman was taken to the hospital, treated for non-life threatening injuries and released.

Two days after the attack in the 3200 block of Bostonian Drive, Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Rivas, as he was leaving his Rossmoor home at about 7:45 p.m.

At Rivas' initial court appearance Oct. 29, Orange County Superior Court Judge John Adams doubled the defendant's bail to $1 million. 

Interviews with area residents led investigators to Rivas, who fit the description provided by the victim and was known to ride a BMX bike and carry knives, according to Gail Krause of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Rivas, who lives about three blocks from where the assault happened, ran away when approached by sheriff's deputies, but they quickly took him into custody, Krause said.

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--City News Service contributed to this story.


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