A Santa Cruz man faces life imprisonment after a Butte County jury Friday found him guilty of Assault with Intent to Commit Rape during a Burglary. The jury trial ended Friday after a two week trial.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey said the case resulted from a May 28, 2017 car crash into the front yard of a residence in Gridley. Ramsey said that after the crash James Carter, 55, broke into the residence through the front door. He snuck through the bedroom of the home owners’ two-year old daughter, and then into the master bedroom where got under the covers with the sleeping parents. Carter groped wife from behind and, at first, she thought Carter was her husband until she heard him moaning and noticed his voice was different. The victim, now too afraid to move, woke her husband, who was on the other side of her in the bed. When Carter was confronted by the victim’s husband, he ran away.
Carter ran to a neighbor’s outbuilding where the neighbor and eventually the victim’s husband, who had dressed, corralled Carter and held him until sheriff’s deputies arrived. Carter told officers a strange tale of having taken methamphetamine 24 hours before and hallucinating about being chased. However an examination at the jail failed to reveal significant signs and symptoms of impairment.
A witness from Arkansas was brought to testify before the jury and told them that Carter had attempted to rape her back in 2006. The jury heard testimony about how, during that Arkansas incident, Carter cut off her power, broke into her room, and tried to rape her.
The trial prosecutor Matt Taylor stated during his closing argument that this was every home owner’s worst nightmare, every woman’s worst nightmare, and every husband’s worst nightmare. Taylor stated the defendant’s actions and his previous sexual assault proved Carter acted with the intent to commit rape.
As a result of the verdict, Carter faces life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 8, 2017 in front of the trial Judge James Reilley.