Mountain View Voice

News - July 9, 2010

Suspect in attempted rape pleads not guilty

by Nick Veronin

The man accused of attempting to rape a Mountain View woman as she jogged along the Steven Creek Trail last year has pleaded not guilty at a July 7 plea hearing at the Palo Alto Courthouse.

John Detches, 32, a transient San Jose man, was arrested Dec. 6, 2009, in connection with the attack. He pleaded not guilty to all charges against him — two counts of assault with intent to commit rape, two counts of felony false imprisonment and one count of kidnapping to commit a sexual offense.

Crystal Stokes, 28, reported being attack on Nov. 29, 2009, as she jogged along the Stevens Creek Trail, near the Dana Street overpass. Stokes told police she was grabbed by a man who attempted to drag her into some bushes on the side of the trail. She fought him off and he fled on a bicycle.

After Stokes reported the attack, Mountain View police began looking into the possibility that the same suspect was involved in two similar incidents reported around the same time.

Two other women, both in their 20s, told police that a man had grabbed them as they jogged on Stevens Creek Trail, and that after fighting him off, he fled on a bicycle.

Police combed the trail on bike and motorcycle over the next few days and eventually arrested Detches on a prior misdemeanor warrant. Stokes identified him as her attacker from a photo lineup.

Detches is scheduled to appear at the Palo Alto Courthouse again on Aug. 27 to face a preliminary examination.

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