A man accused of attacking a young woman at knifepoint on a San Diego-area community college campus with plans to allegedly rape her pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.
Anthony Washington, 26, has been charged with assault with intention to commit rape in connection with an alleged attack that happened at Grossmont College in El Cajon on Tuesday morning.
According to officials from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, an 18-year-old female student was getting into her car on campus around 11 a.m. when Washington approached her, holding a knife up to her neck and forcing her into her vehicle.
Another student driving by noticed the struggle and honked, deputies said. Jolted, Washington fled the scene, but he was located, questioned and arrested by deputies a short time later.
According to a sheriff’s department report, a deputy said Washington told him he had planned to rape the woman and do “whatever he had to in order to get his way.”
In court on Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Nicole Roth argued that Washington is a “danger to the community” and targeted the young college student with a mission in mind.
“The defendant went to Grossmont College with the express purpose of taking sex,” said Roth. “He had a knife on his person. He held an 18-year-old college student at knifepoint as she was leaning into her car, and forced her into her car.”
Though the victim was not injured in the attack, Roth said the student is still shaken up from the frightening incident.
Roth asked a judge to set Washington’s bail at $250,000 – up from the original $205,000 bail. However, the defendant’s attorney argued that Washington has no criminal history and is not a flight risk.
In the end, Washington’s bail remained set at $205,025.
Washington is set to appear in court again for readiness conference on Nov. 1. If convicted, Roth said the suspect could face a maximum of 16 years behind bars – 6 years for assault, and 10 for using the knife in the attack.
“We’re going to do our best to hold this defendant responsible for what he’s done and to achieve justice for the victim in this case,” Roth added.
Before his court appearance, Washington told another San Diego TV station that he was allegedly diagnosed with schizophrenia and had heard voices telling him to do “bad things” prior to the assault at the community college. Washington, who’s not a student at Grossmont College, then went to the school and looked for a woman to follow.
When asked about the suspect’s schizophrenia, Roth said she knew nothing about Washington’s mental health history at this point. The investigation is ongoing.
In the meantime, Washington is being held at San Diego Central Jail. In addition to the assault charge, jail records indicate that he’s also been charged with two counts including failure to appear after written promise and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.