By Linh Nguyen
WOODLAND – A Clarksburg man is accused of falsely imprisoning a woman with whom he started having sexual relations two days prior in this preliminary hearing.
The defendant Edward Rathburn was heard on a count of felony false imprisonment and a felony burglary. Rathburn arrived at the complaining witness’s (K.R.) residence at around 3:40 am on Nov. 24, 2019. He was asked to leave but returned to the residence a few hours later, acting in a “weird” demeanor, according to the complaining witness’ statement to the police.
Rathburn and K.R. met two days prior to this incident on Nov. 22, 2019. Since then, they have engaged in a sexual relationship.
Initially, the first time Rathburn appeared at her residence, the complaining witness asked the defendant to leave, to which he refused. A police officer was called to the scene to ask him to leave. It was then that Rathburn complied.
A few hours later around 5:45 am, Detective Mike Ha from the Yolo County Police Department was dispatched to K.G. ‘s residence to respond to a trespassing call. Detective Ha testified for the prosecution.
K.G. told Ha that the defendant forced her into her garage to talk to her. He allegedly falsely imprisoned her in her detached garage by blocking her in with her body. She unsuccessfully tried to bypass him four times in a span of four minutes. The defendant was not armed with weapons and was not physically violent with her.
When asked to describe the defendant’s demeanor during this incident, K.G. alleged that Rathburn was acting “weird,” saying “please help me!”, and “don’t do this.” He also claimed that some items in her garage belonged to him and his family.
When she escaped him, she went to her main house and called 911. She delayed the call because she thought the suspect would eventually leave. He eventually left, allegedly stealing several watches and a coin purse from the garage.
Another deputy located the defendant on a county road about a quarter mile from K.G. ‘s residence. The deputy searched his vehicle and allegedly found several watches and other property belonging to K.G., including her mail and AAA card.
The complaining witness did not testify in the preliminary hearing.
The defense argued to the Court that what the defendant did was not false imprisonment, as the definition included the use of violence and menace to force someone in a confined space. Rathburn was not using violence nor menace, so the defense asked the Court to reduce the felony false imprisonment to a misdemeanor. Furthermore, the defense argued that there was no evidence that Rathburn stole the items.
The Court found that there is sufficient evidence for the defendant to answer for the felony burglary and agreed to reduce the felony false imprisonment count to a misdemeanor.
Arraignment for this case is scheduled for March 13, 2020, at 9 am.
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