MARTINEZ -- A man described by a prosecutor as a "serial rapist of prostitutes" was convicted in Martinez this week in connection with a 2013 attempted rape and assault in Richmond.
A Contra Costa County Superior Court jury on Monday found 44-year-old Lazaris Fuller of Richmond guilty of kidnapping with intent to commit rape and assault with intent to rape, according to the district attorney's office.
Fuller, who was also convicted of an enhancement under California's Three Strikes law, faces life in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Chris Walpole.
The charges stem from an incident in Richmond on June 4, 2013.
Walpole said a woman in her 30s who is a longtime area prostitute had been dropped off near the McDonald's restaurant at the intersection of Nevin Avenue and 23rd Street when Fuller approached her.
When the woman turned him down for a date, Fuller yanked on her hooded sweatshirt and dragged her about six feet to a corner where he began tearing off her tights, the prosecutor said.
A police officer arrived on scene and saw what was happening and Fuller fled, he said.
Officers apprehended the defendant about five minutes later and arrested him in connection with the assault and kidnapping.
During the trial, defense attorneys argued that the police officer lied about witnessing the assault and that the woman had earlier agreed to have sex with Fuller in exchange for drugs.
The victim denied that account, however, and the jury didn't buy it.
Walpole said the incident is the second time Fuller assaulted a prostitute with the intent to rape her.
In a highly similar incident in Richmond in 2003, he said, the defendant assaulted a different prostitute, demanded she have sex with him and dragged her to a portable toilet where he sexually assaulted her.
However, the victim in that case was uncooperative with police and charges were never filed, Walpole said.
Fuller is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on Sept. 19.
Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, re-transmission or reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.