A Santa Clarita man suspected of breaking into a series of residences and assaulting a woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to seven felony counts.
Russell Malcolm Harris, 34, is charged with one count each of assault with intent to commit rape during the commission of a first-degree burglary, first-degree residential burglary and attempted first-degree residential burglary, along with four counts of first-degree burglary with a person present.
Harris allegedly broke into a woman’s home Aug. 1 and sexually touched her before fleeing. He is accused of breaking into three more residences the same day, and breaking into or attempting to get into three other residences on Aug. 2, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Harris allegedly went to apartment buildings and homes and checked doors to see if anybody was home.
“In a couple of incidents, he was able to make entry, where he confronted the occupants of the home and he attempted to commit sexual acts with them,” said Los Angeles police Lt. Joe Losorelli, who heads the Rampart Detectives Division.
Harris was initially arrested Aug. 9 by Pasadena police responding to a call of a suspect trying to enter a home. Pasadena police subsequently got a call of a suspect in a yard and determined that he had broken his leg while trying to elude officers, according to the LAPD.
Los Angeles police said they subsequently got a tip from an Antelope Valley citizen who recognized him after seeing a news report, and investigators were able to determine that he was the man who had been taken into custody by Pasadena police.
Losorelli said investigators showed a “six-pack” containing a photo of Harris to one of the alleged victims, who “positively identified him as the person that entered her apartment and tried to sexually assault her,” and other alleged victims also “positively identified him as the individual in the Rampart area and Hollywood” who had tried to break into their apartments.
The defendant is wanted in New York “for the same type of violation” and has an “extensive criminal record,” according to the LAPD.
The criminal complaint alleges that Harris has prior convictions in New York.
If convicted as charged, Harris could face up to life in state prison.
–City News Service