The preliminary hearing for an Arroyo Grande man accused of two sexual assault cases last July in San Luis Obispo wrapped up Tuesday.
Arthur Rocha, 40, was arrested on Aug. 1, 2018, after police said evidence linked him to a reported sexual assault on July 8 and an attempted sexual assault on July 13.
On July 8, a young woman who lives on Los Palos Dr. told police she woke up to find a man in her bedroom. He reportedly threatened her with a sharp object, then sexually assaulted her before running away.
On July 13, two young women at a home in the 1500 block of Osos St. reported that they awoke to find a man holding a knife in their bedroom. He reportedly threatened them and attempted to sexually assault them, but they were able to fight back and the man ran off.
On Tuesday, Judge Jacquelyn Duffy ruled there is enough probable cause to move the case to trial.
Rocha faces charges including assault with a deadly weapon, making criminal threats, first-degree burglary, sexual penetration by a foreign object, forcible oral copulation, forcible rape, and assault with a deadly weapon among other felony charges. He pleaded not guilty at his initial arraignment.
Five officers who investigated the alleged crimes testified on Monday during the first day of the preliminary hearing.
They testified that a knife found at one scene contained a male DNA profile that matched Rocha’s DNA, and that a cheetah print glove found at one of the scenes had a DNA profile that was likely Rocha’s or that of a close male relative.
According to the testimony, two of the victims described the perpetrator as holding a knife to their neck. One of the women reportedly told an investigator she felt a knife poking into the side of her neck and that the perpetrator told her to “shut up” or he would stab her.
The knife was described as a switchblade knife, approximately 5 inches in length. According to testimony, it was found by a fence in the same location as an unwrapped condom, a cell phone belonging to one of the alleged victims, and a nylon mask.
The mask was described by at least one of the alleged victims as being used during the assault.
Investigators also testified that a search warrant served on Rocha’s vehicle revealed two magnet photos that were taken from one of the victims’ refrigerators.
Rocha’s defense attorney, Matthew Kraut, argued that there was insufficient evidence for assault with intent to commit a sex offense alleged in one of the counts, but the judge said she took into consideration testimony that included the location where the knife was found as well as the discovery of an unwrapped condom and a pair of shorts at the foot of the bed in the July 13 incident.
Another officer testified that a third party witness described seeing a Hispanic male of average build running away from an area in close proximity to the Osos St. residence and specifically having seen that individual being unclothed from the waist down.
Rocha is scheduled to return to court on March 6 at 8:30 a.m. for his Superior Court arraignment.