A 19-year-old man accused of groping and sexually assaulting four female students as they walked to their off-campus housing near San Diego State University must stand trial on seven charges, including false imprisonment and sexual battery, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Minda Shewangizaw faces seven years in state prison if convicted of the Aug. 29 crimes, said Deputy District Attorney Judy Taschner.
All four alleged victims — who ranged in age from 17 to 19 — testified during a preliminary hearing in San Diego Superior Court.
T.H. testified that she and her roommate, identified as T.L., were walking near Montezuma Road and 55th Street, back to their apartment just after midnight when the defendant came up from behind and forcefully “grabbed my butt.”
“He just smiled and laughed,” T.H. testified. Her roommate tried to fight off the defendant, who ran when T.H. yelled at him, she said
T.L. said she noticed someone walking behind them before he began chasing them.
“I said, You need to leave,” she testified. “He grabbed my hand and pulled me toward him. He pulled my shirt down and grabbed my breast.”
T.L. said she kicked the defendant and was able to break free. She and her roommate notified a security guard, who called campus police.
The witness said Shewangizaw was wearing an “extremely distinctive” blue Hawaiian shirt and she and her roommate were able to identify him a short time later, after his arrest following another attack.
“I’ll never forget what his face looked like,” T.L. testified.
Jane Doe #2 testified that she and Jane Doe #1 were on a pedestrian bridge near the Aztec Student Union, headed back to their dorm about 1 a.m., when she heard footsteps and was smacked on her “behind” by the defendant.
“I was livid. I said, What are you doing?” Don’t do that! He laughed it off.
The witness said she kept walking and tried to ignore the defendant, but he followed and make a remark about her breasts before pulling her shirt down and putting his hands on her chest.
Jane Doe #2 said Shewangizaw went to Jane Doe #1 and said, “How about you? What do you have?”
Jane Doe #1 testified that Shewangizaw asked them if they were freshmen and told them he was a junior at SDSU.
The witness said she froze when the defendant grabbed her friend’s breasts. “I got really freaked out.”
She said Shewangizaw grabbed her breast and her buttocks and trapped her against a rail before he laughed and walked away.
Shewangizaw bailed out of jail but was re-arrested in connection with the May 2017 attempted rape of an acquaintance at UC Riverside, where he was a student, Taschner said.
Judge Joan Weber ruled that enough evidence was presented for Shewangizaw to proceed to trial. A Superior Court arraignment was set for Feb. 6.
— City News Service