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Man Gets 62 Years for Ojai Valley Assaults

November 01, 1995|PAUL ELIAS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Convicted rapist Kevin Richard Malone was sentenced to more than 62 years in prison Tuesday after three of his four victims tearfully pleaded with a judge to show no mercy with the man who terrified women throughout the Ojai Valley.

Malone had earlier pleaded guilty to 10 counts of rape, sexual assault and robbery in connection with a string of sexual assaults during a summer of fear in 1994.

Handing down the sentence of 62 2/3 years, Superior Court Judge Charles W. Campbell Jr. called the crimes "sickeningly methodical" and said the 38-year-old drifter will not be eligible for parole until 2026.

Malone's second victim clapped her hands, exclaimed "All right, all right" and broke into tears at the judge's pronouncement.

"Ojai gets hot in the summer and I like to sleep with the windows open," she said. "Now I feel that right has been taken away from me."

Malone severely beat the Meiners Oak woman, who was then 61, as she slept on her living room couch in March, 1994. The woman was able to fight him off during the 3 a.m. assault. Investigators later found ropes tied to her bed in an apparent preparation for a sexual assault.

Two Ojai women, ages 54 and 64 at the time of the crimes, also told Campbell of their harrowing experiences the same night in September, 1994. One woman's husband recounted her story of being bound to her bed, her head covered with a pillowcase and Malone telling her "that I could fall in love with you" as he raped her.

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"He tied each hand to our headboard--the headboard I made for her and the headboard she asked me to destroy," the husband told Campbell. "For us to get on with our lives, we must relocate."

Even Malone's attorney, James M. Farley, conceded his client is a "sick individual" who committed "horrible crimes." But he asked Campbell to take into account Malone's brain damage and heavy drug use. Malone submitted to two brain operations in 1993 that made "his inhibitions unable to be repressed," Farley said.

"I am very skeptical that he was so wigged out on drugs that he didn't know what he was doing," Campbell replied. "He was able to carefully and obviously plan these things."

Three bailiffs blocked each courtroom exit and kept watch over the mostly expressionless Malone. With his long, thinning hair hanging nearly to his shoulders and his feet tightly shackled, Malone sat and stared down at the defense table during most of the hearing.

He spoke only twice, to say "yes, sir" in a mild, Midwestern twang when Campbell asked if he understood his appeals rights. The three victims cried and stared intently at Malone as he was led away to prison.

The assaults outraged Ojai and the surrounding area for most of the 1994 summer, prompting town hall meetings, counseling sessions for the area's women and an exhaustive Ventura County sheriff's investigation.

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"There were few, if any, women who did not feel terrified to walk around alone," Ojai Mayor Nina Shelley said. "I'm glad to hear that the culprit has been caught and is going to prison for a long time."

In exchange for his guilty plea to the 10 counts, prosecutors dropped 14 other related charges in August. Shortly after that agreement was reached, Malone tried to back out of the deal and withdraw his guilty pleas. But Campbell refused to let Malone recant.

Before Malone was arrested in January, a Casitas Springs man was jailed for six days and wrongly charged with the sexual assaults before DNA tests cleared him. The Ventura County district attorney publicly apologized to the man, who has filed a $1-million claim against the county.

Malone was jailed during the same period on a prowling charge and was later charged with 20 counts of rape, attempted rape, assault and burglary after investigators linked him to the crimes.

Another man was arrested in August and is accused of raping three elderly women in Ojai and east Ventura this summer in a similar style. Peter A. Stocks, 38, is scheduled to stand trial next year on the rape charges.

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