Homeless Man Arrested for Assaulting Runner on Santa Monica Beach Path

On a Monday morning at around 7:15 a.m., a female jogger from Venice was assaulted on the beach path in Santa Monica by Malcolm Jimmy Ward, Jr., a homeless man. The incident took place in the 2000 block of Ocean Front Walk. Ward allegedly grabbed the woman by her ponytail, knocked her to the ground, and dragged her several feet towards the bathrooms. The victim believed that Ward intended to sexually assault her. Witnesses intervened, preventing the assault from escalating, and Ward was subsequently taken into custody by the police.

Charges and Penal Codes

Malcolm Jimmy Ward, Jr. faces multiple felony charges as a result of his actions:

  1. Kidnapping (PC 207(a)):
    • California Penal Code 207(a) defines kidnapping as the act of forcibly, or by instilling fear, taking a person and moving them a substantial distance.
    • Application: Ward’s actions of dragging the victim several feet against her will constitute kidnapping under this statute.
  2. Assault with Intent to Commit Rape (PC 220):
    • California Penal Code 220 describes assault with intent to commit a felony, such as rape, as an assault where the assailant intends to commit a sexual offense.
    • Application: The victim’s belief that Ward intended to sexually assault her, combined with the physical attack, meets the criteria for this charge.
  3. Violation of Parole (PC 3056):
    • California Penal Code 3056 pertains to individuals who violate the conditions of their parole.
    • Application: Ward was out on parole for assault with a deadly weapon when this incident occurred. His involvement in this new crime represents a clear violation of his parole conditions.

Given the nature of the charges and the evidence available, several legal strategies and considerations will be pivotal in this case:

  1. Evidence Collection and Witness Testimonies:
    • The statements of witnesses who intervened during the assault are crucial. These testimonies can corroborate the victim’s account and establish the sequence of events.
    • Surveillance footage from the area, if available, could provide additional evidence supporting the victim’s allegations and the witnesses’ accounts.
  2. Prior Criminal History:
    • Ward’s previous conviction for assault with a deadly weapon will likely influence the prosecution’s approach. His history of violent behavior can be used to argue for a harsher sentence.
    • The violation of parole will be a significant factor in both the prosecution’s and defense’s strategies, potentially leading to an aggravated sentence.
  3. Defense Arguments:
    • The defense may attempt to mitigate the charges by questioning the intent behind Ward’s actions. They could argue that there was no intention to commit rape, aiming to reduce the severity of the charges.
    • Mental health defenses might be explored, considering Ward’s status as a homeless individual. The defense may argue that Ward’s mental state should be taken into account when determining culpability and sentencing.
  4. Prosecution’s Approach:
    • The prosecution will likely focus on the violent nature of the attack and Ward’s intent to commit a sexual assault.
    • Emphasizing the breach of parole, the prosecution will argue for a stringent sentence to prevent further risk to public safety.

Potential Outcomes

If convicted, Malcolm Jimmy Ward, Jr. faces severe penalties due to the gravity of the charges and his prior criminal record:

  • Kidnapping (PC 207(a)): Ward could face a sentence of up to 8 years in state prison.
  • Assault with Intent to Commit Rape (PC 220): This charge carries a potential sentence of 2 to 6 years in state prison.
  • Violation of Parole (PC 3056): Ward could be ordered to serve the remaining time from his previous sentence, in addition to any new sentences imposed.

The charges of kidnapping, assault with intent to commit rape, and violation of parole reflect the serious nature of the incident. The prosecution will likely pursue a severe sentence to ensure justice for the victim and to protect public safety, while the defense may seek to mitigate the charges based on intent and potential mental health considerations.

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