Rossmoor Stabbing Suspect Hearing Postponed

A pretrial hearing for James Anthony Rivas, 18, accused of attacking a jogger, was moved to Jan. 29.

A judge postponed the pretrial hearing of an 18-year-old Rossmoor resident accused of trying to kill a female jogger by stabbing her multiple times.

Orange County Superior Court Judge John Adams continued the case of James Anthony Rivas Thursday afternoon to a preliminary hearing Jan. 29.

Rivas has 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.

Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Brett Brian, who is prosecuting the case, said once the Jan. 29 pretrial hearing is over, the next hearing -- currently set for Jan. 31 -- will be a “probable cause hearing," where the prosecution will show their evidence that a crime was committed and that the defendant is the most likely suspect.

“Until that point, I’m going to make sure that the defense attorney has all the information that I’ve got,” Brian said.

Two people -- who spoke with Rivas' attorney afterward, appeared to be Rivas’ relatives and told Patch speak to their attorney -- declined to comment.

"They’re not going to make any comment at this time,” said Attorney David Medina, who was filling in for the Mark Fredrick, the lawyer who has been representing Rivas in the case so far.

The hearing was continued to 8:30 a.m. Jan. 29 in courtroom W1 at the Westminster court. 

At Rivas' initial court appearance Oct. 29, Orange County Superior Court Judge John Adams doubled the defendant's bail to $1 million. If convicted, Rivas faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison.

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

At about 9 p.m. Oct. 23, Rivas allegedly approached a 27-year-old woman, whose name has not been released and was referred to as "Jane Doe," who was jogging through a residential neighborhood in Rossmoor, according to the D.A.

Rivas then allegedly snuck up behind Doe, grabbed her and stabbed her several times with a knife, cutting her face, back, arm and hand.

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

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, said 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.

Investigators found a knife nearby that will be analyzed at the Orange County Crime Lab, she said.

--City News Service contributed to this story.

Debbie Montgomery January 24, 2013 at 12:06 AM
This case makes me so sad. I remember this young man as a little boy playing soccer on my son's team - how does someone go from such innocence to something like this? Heart wrenching.


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