A transient accused of sexually assaulting a 73-year-old partially paralyzed woman at a Carlsbad assisted living center was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges of sexual battery, assault, indecent exposure and burglary.
Austin Miller, 25, remains in custody in lieu of $2.5 million bail and will return to court July 28 for a readiness conference.
Miller allegedly entered the woman’s room at Las Villas de Carlsbad on Laguna Drive on the morning of Feb. 4. He fled when a staff member confronted him, Lt. Jason Jackowski said.
Officers searched the area with a service dog and assistance from a sheriff’s helicopter crew but were unable to immediately locate him. He was taken into custody the following day in the 900 block of Carlsbad Village Drive.
Preliminary hearing testimony indicated the victim awoke to a man standing by her bed. He got on top of her, covered her mouth and told her not to scream or he would hurt her, Carlsbad police Detective Dzung Luc testified.
The victim, who was paralyzed on one side of her body due to a stroke, told police that she asked her assailant, “Would you do this to your mother?,” which appeared to make him hesitate during the attack, the detective testified.
Luc said a physical description provided by the victim and staff members who saw the assailant flee led police to Miller, who allegedly confessed to committing the assault during a police interview.
Defense attorney Crystal Salumbides said that no DNA or fingerprints linked to Miller were found at the scene, and that the victim and other witnesses could not positively identify him as the attacker in a photographic lineup.
She also said others who lived at the same campsite as Miller alleged there was another person they believed might have been responsible for the assault.
–City News Service
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