Readers, proceed with caution. This story describes brutal violence against women.
23-year-old Willits man Jose Miguel Perez currently sits in the Mendocino County jail facing charges difficult to speak of because of their brutality. On October 10, 2021, Perez, as described in a press release from Willits Police Department, allegedly beat and sexually assaulted a 61-year-old woman in the darkness of a Grocery Outlet parking lot.
This woman was airlifted to the University of California, Davis Medical center due to the extent of her injuries.
Perez’s alleged attack, as described in a letter to the editor composed by her son, was characterized as a violent rape that left “her skull crushed.”
Perez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on October 14, 2021, after investigators tied him to the crime charging him with attempted murder, attempted rape, kidnapping, and bodily injury, and violation of probation.
Court documents reveal that the brutal attack was not the first time Perez has been alleged to have attacked someone. In January 2020, he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery after an incident where he physically harmed both a man and woman.
Perez successfully fought the charges and pled down to two counts of PC415, which describes, “Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or challenges another person in a public place to fight. (2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise.”
This resulted in a 36-month probation term that is now being reviewed due to the charges that stem from the alleged crimes committed on October 10.
As per the latest criminal complaint filed by the Mendocino County District Attorney, Perez will stand trial for five serious felonies with numerous special allegations which often result in an increased prison sentence if the defendant is found guilty of committing them.
The first count of felony “first degree, premeditated, willful, and deliberate attempted” murder has an attached special allegation stating the attack “caused the victim to become comatose due to brain injury or to – suffer paralysis ‘of a permanent nature,”
The second count Perez faces is the felony of “kidnapping to commit rape” which asserts he “willfully and unlawfully kidnap[ped] and carr[ied] away [the victim] with the intent to commit rape.”
The third count, also a felony, accuses Perez of “assault with the intent to commit rape” in which he “willfully and unlawfully assault[ed] [the victim], with the intent to commit Rape.”
The fourth and fifth counts are for the same crime as the third, “assault with the intent to commit rape,” but both make specific notes that these alleged acts were “separate and distinct acts.”
Two special allegations are attached to the fifth count. One accuses Perez of “great bodily injury on the person of another in the commission or attempted commission of Murder, Kidnapping, and/or Assault with Intent to Commit Rape.”
The other special allegation is a result of the victim’s age stating, “Perez, during the commission of the above offenses, did commit a crime against a person who is 60 years of age or older and during the Course of the offense inflicted great bodily injury.”
The son of the victim of these horrific circumstances provided us with a letter to the editor that provided a broader context to this crime. He described this crime as eliciting “hate and anger” towards both the perpetrator and the “system that governs us.”
He went on to describe his mother’s struggle with mental health and drug addiction while finding scant community resources to steer her towards healing and sobriety. He reflected on a world where, “This monster who did this to my mother will now be afforded a bed, a roof over his head, meals, medical care (including mental health), and many other basic needs met.”
According to a 2002 study by Myhill and Allen entitled, “Rape and sexual assault of women: the extent and nature of the problem,” the vast majority of rape (83%) experienced by women is committed by someone who the victim knows. Only 21% are characterized as “stranger rapes”, more closely resembling this incident in Willits.
The ubiquity of this experience is horrifying and unfortunately is not necessarily represented in media coverage of violence against women.
A 2019 study from Australia’s BMC Public Health concluded coverage of violence against women often emphasizes the law enforcement, political, and criminal justice perspective of the incidents finding “reporting that promotes public understanding of the issue is not always the norm.”
Please, if you or anyone you know are experiencing any form of violence, consider contacting or forwarding some of the resources available for victims of violence here in Mendocino County:
- Mendocino County Witness Program
- “Provides assistance to crime victims and witnesses involved in the criminal justice system.”
- Contact: (707) 463-4218
- Project Sanctuary
- The mission is to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault through advocacy, crisis response, community collaboration, education, and shelter.”
- Ukiah Office Info: 564 S. Dora Street, Suite A-1 Ukiah, CA 95482 Crisis Line: 707 463-4357 (HELP) Office Line(707) 462-9196
- Fort Bragg Office Info: 461 North Franklin Street Fort Bragg, CA 95437 Crisis Line:707 964-4357 (HELP) Office Line:(707) 961-1507
- Love is Respect
- “Love is respect is the national resource to disrupt and prevent unhealthy relationships and intimate partner violence by empowering young people through inclusive and equitable education, support, and resources.”
- Contact: (866) 331-9474
- Text: LOVEIS to 22522
Finally, with due respect to the victim of the circumstances described, it must be stated that the charges described have not been proven in a court of law. In accordance with the legal principle of the presumption of innocence, any individual described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.