Teen Pleads Not Guilty in Violent Attack on Rossmoor Jogger

Defense Attorney Mark Fredrick says charges "are completely out of character" for 18-year-old James Anthony Rivas. The Senior Deputy D.A. says, "We got the right guy."

The 18-year-old man accused of trying to stab a Rossmoor jogger to death in a seemingly random attack last month, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including attempted murder, in an Orange County courtroom Monday.

Wearing an orange jumpsuit, James Anthony Rivas, also a Rossmoor resident, sat behind a black caged-off area and said little. He remains in custody with bail set at $1 million. However, after the brief arraignment, his attorney Mark Fredrick indicated that Rivas isn’t the violent criminal investigators would make him out to be.

Speaking with Patch after the arraignment, Fredrick said he had not had much time to study the documents presented by the prosecution, but after meeting Rivas he has seen a disconnect.

“The charges are completely out of character of the person I’ve met,” Fredrick said. “He has no prior record. He comes from a good family.” 

However, Senior Deputy District Attorney Brett Brian has no such doubts that the right man is behind bars. The state has a good case against the defendant, he added.

“We got the right guy,” Brian said.

For the first time, Brian offered a motive for the attack, adding that at this early stage, however, any theories are “speculation.”

“You know it’s hard to say,” Brian said. “It looks to us to be an attempted robbery gone bad.”

On Oct. 29, Rivas was charged with 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, Rivas faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison.

Rivas was arrested by Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies Oct. 26, as he was leaving his home at about 7:45 p.m. O, 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 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 at 9:11 p.m. Tuesday, ran away from sheriff's deputies Thursday night, 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.

Upon hearing her screaming, a resident of the community rushed outside, and the assailant fled on a BMX bicycle, according to Jim Amormino with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

“He made no attempt to sexually assault her,” Amormino said, “and he didn't say one word. She said he looked angry.”

-- City News Service contributed to this story.

Mike November 08, 2012 at 04:22 PM
How hateful you are 14anEye : I am WHITE, you DUMB ASS. Married to a Mexican though she does not look it ,I attended the meeting most of our neighbors were at. I heard some of the RACIST comments my neighbors were saying. I love living here and I am not Naive nor Ignorant as some of you are. By your hostility I am sure your one of those people.I refuse to be Paranoid, I still walk at night or anytime of the day I want. I DONT BELIEVE A WORD YOU WROTE, IT SOUNDS MADE UP. You should have that BIPOLAR, PARANOIA, checked out. Is it any surprise, your mother prays for you ? A PSYCHO with guns. The next ROOSMOOR FELON !! I too have cameras and the other things you have, well train in a variety of things as well. I belong to the N.R.A. and for you DUMB ASSES and IGNORANT PEOPLE it stands for NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION. my thoughts and prayers goes out to the victim and the suspect . I believe in our justice system.. since you believe in GOD,or gods your familiar with`` HE THAT IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE``thinks no one KNOWS what you do ? MR BRIAN, offers a early stage motive, emphasis on "any theories are speculations" that means he does not know ,IGNORANT people. or was I the only one who dint read into what was not there. Dint SHAKESPEAR say we should line up all Attorney`s and do away with them ?? I bet most of you agree until you need one yourself.Try representing yourself you MORON.. ( he was praising them) So let your MOMMY take you to your PSYCHIATRIST.
I4anEye November 13, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Quoting the Bible is definitely not something someone like you should be doing.. the only thing i could do the whole time while reading your comment was laugh hysterically.. i even got my friends in on it to enjoy your silly reply..but you are waay too off track to even respond to your stupidity and how lame you sound.. the point is that a scumbag is off the streets of my neighborhood, cause my friend didn't deserve that. nobody does. sounds like mike needs some meds or a head doctor.. a behavioral therapist.. you're silly as all hell mikey boy.. you shouldn't be living in rossmoor anyway. you'll probably be the next drug addiction scummer running thru the streets of rossmoor trying to hurt people.. go to church.
Mike November 18, 2012 at 08:05 AM
Again YOU DUMB ASS,you sound like a little HITLER. go to church? you need to go . has your mommy Mrs HITLER, taken you to see your PSYCHIATRIST yet? I know your point, it is strictly RACIST ! you hide behind your screen name just like THE PIECE OF CRAP THAT YOU ARE. you obviously don't understand what you read DUMB ASS... your friends were laughing at you but your to STUPID to see it. your a LIAR and a COPY CAT.
kim November 20, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Sammi Sweetheart November 23, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Christina...I know it was a horrid crime James was accused of and my heart goes out to the victim. ....But, do you know him personally ...are you the one that said "he is known to carry knives?" Have you see him with a knife on a dialy basis? The problem is the media prints things to get our attention and blow up the things that people will be interested in. His attorney stated "the charges are completely out of character?" because they are. What you are missing is believing everything the media prints and having a mind of your own to make your own decision based on all of the facts. Bad things happen everyday and this was definatley one of them...but the sad part is what about his family....what they are going through. The backlash they are dealing with of people who don't even know him judging and saying he is illegal just because he is Hispanic, a nut, all of these things when they have never met the person in their lives. I am all for people voicing their opinions.....but just get the facts straight and try to have a little empathy for the accused person's family. They are going through hell with him...trust me I KNOW!!


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