NorCal Rapist suspect testifies in Sacramento CA court

Laveta Brigham

NorCal Rapist suspect Roy Waller took the witness stand in his own defense Tuesday, launching a dramatic bid to convince jurors he is not the mysterious serial rapist who attacked at least nine Northern California women between 1996 and 2001. Dressed in a blue dress shirt and wearing brown frame […]

NorCal Rapist suspect Roy Waller took the witness stand in his own defense Tuesday, launching a dramatic bid to convince jurors he is not the mysterious serial rapist who attacked at least nine Northern California women between 1996 and 2001.

Dressed in a blue dress shirt and wearing brown frame glasses with his brown hair slicked back, Waller spoke in a soft voice as defense attorney Joseph Farina began asking questions about his personal life and his 25-year career as a safety specialist at UC Berkeley.

Farina, who addressed his client as “Roy,” started his questioning late in the day and was able to get in only about half an hour of testimony before trial in Sacramento Superior Court adjourned until Thursday.

But Farina spent much of the time getting Waller to explain some of the evidence against him, including a bag of women’s panties found in one of his storage lockers and pornographic images on his computers.

“Can you please explain to the jury why you had a bag of women’s panties?” Farina asked.

“I did a lot of dating, and dated this one woman and we’d go out of town a lot,” Waller replied matter-of-factly. “We had a bag that we would take that had massage oil, bubble bath, bottles of wine, Remy Martin.

“So we’d go to different places, Fort Bragg, Tahoe, Monterey, Santa Cruz. They’d just get thrown in this bag. She always liked to buy new lingerie, and they would end up there and when we kind of split up that’s just where they were.”

In earlier testimony from one of two women raped in Natomas in 2006, the alleged victim described a pair of panties that disappeared after the attack and identified a photo of such a pair – found in Waller’s bag – as being identical to hers.

The NorCal Rapist has previously been described as favoring Asian victims, and Farina asked Waller if he had a preference for Asian women and why he had pornographic photos of two bound Asian women on his computer.

“You know, back when the internet was popular and first came out, that was a type of thing that a lot of people did, just download,” Waller said. “And when I was with this person she liked looking at movies. It was all mutual.”

He also conceded he had many friends and romantic interests who were Asian.

“I dated a lot of Asian women, my long term relationships were Asian women,” he said.

NorCal Rapist suspect’s personal life

Farina also led Waller through a series of questions about his personal life – a first marriage in 1980 that produced one daughter and ended bitterly, a second daughter who now lives in Dixon and a second marriage in 2016 – as well as a recitation of his duties at Berkeley and what activities he enjoyed before his 2018 arrest.

“I rode motorcycles, street motorcycles, cruisers, dirt bikes, quads, ATVs, fishing, hunting, mountain biking,” Waller said. “Myself and a bunch of co-workers, we’d go play paintball.”

But he said he never cruised the bars looking for dates.

“No, I’m not a drinker,” he said, adding that he preferred online dating sites.

Waller, 60, faces 46 felony counts related to sexual assault, kidnap and other charges that could send him to prison for life.

He is accused of slipping into women’s homes – usually through unlocked doors and windows – tying them up and attacking them for hours at a time in assaults in Rohnert Park, Vallejo, Martinez, Sacramento, Davis and Chico.

Until Tuesday, Waller had sat quietly as his alleged victims took the witness stand one by one to describe terrifying nights when they were surprised by an armed man wearing a ski mask – or, in one case, a Halloween mask – and tied them up using duct tape or cords.

The women made every effort to stare him down as they testified, while Waller typically sat looking down at the defense table writing notes or occasionally whispering suggestions to his lawyer.

One alleged victim identified Waller by sight, saying she could see under the duct tape as he attacked her inside her Chico apartment, but Farina accused her of lying during her testimony.

Before he took the witness stand, the jury’s only opportunity to hear his voice was when prosecutors played tapes of phone conversations he made with his wife from the Sacramento County Main Jail, where he has been held without bail since his September 2018 arrest.

Snippets of the phone calls played for jurors showed him repeatedly telling his wife at the end of the calls to make sure her doors and windows were all locked before she went to bed.

Waller was arrested after detectives using new DNA technology were able to match DNA from sheets, bedspreads, furniture and pillowcases at the scene of the attacks to Waller’s DNA.

Sacramento County crime lab criminalist Nikki Sewell testified Tuesday that the odds of someone other than Waller leaving the DNA behind at the crime scenes were astronomical, in some instances one in 360 quadrillion.

Farina has attempted to convince jurors that other individuals may be responsible for the attacks, noting the differences in suspect descriptions victims provided and pointing out that Sacramento police detectives who questioned him in 2007 at his girlfriend’s Fairfield home left without taking his DNA because he did not match the suspect description or age.

Lawyers are hoping to wrap up testimony in the trial and get it to the jury by next week to give jurors a chance to complete deliberations before Thanksgiving in hopes of avoiding any problems with COVID-19 from family gatherings.

Already, two jurors have been replaced by alternates because of non-coronavirus ailments.

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Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.

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