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Man Faces Charges in 4 Rapes

Crime: Prosecutors say he chose victims who were alone in homes in Glendale and Pasadena.

November 15, 2001|RICHARD WINTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bail has been set at $4.5 million for a Tujunga man accused of being a serial rapist who attacked women in their Glendale and Pasadena homes.

Clifton Hutchins, 34, has been charged with four counts of rape, five counts of burglary, possession of cocaine and prowling. He appeared Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court and agreed to delay his arraignment until Dec. 4.

Prosecutors say Hutchins, wearing a black ski mask and black clothing, first broke into a Pasadena home on May 11, but a woman scared him off. On June 27, he raped a Pasadena woman in her home, prosecutors allege.

A few blocks away on Aug. 15, he allegedly assaulted another woman who was alone in her home. The man whom authorities called the "foothill rapist" then struck twice again, prosecutors say: on Oct. 16 in Glendale and on Nov. 3 in Pasadena.

An investigation by Glendale and Pasadena detectives linked Hutchins to the crimes, officials said. "There is DNA evidence tying him to three of these attacks," said Patricia Doyle, deputy district attorney. "He was captured thanks to some very good police work."

Doyle said detectives gathered a partial palm print and shoe tread marks at the crime scenes that match those of Hutchins. Witnesses also have identified his eyes, she said.

Detectives said they will compare a sample of his DNA with those taken in other unsolved assaults.

Hutchins was arrested on Nov. 7 after Glendale police linked him to a prowling and attempted burglary incident on Sept. 30 in Glendale, a few blocks from the site of the Oct. 16 rape.

"A car left near the scene traced back to his girlfriend," Doyle said. The vehicle was impounded and released, she said. Detectives said it took time to track down the owner because the girlfriend had given a false name. But when they found her, they also discovered Hutchins, who matched the suspect's description.

He was released on $500,000 bail but was arrested again last Thursday as he met with his federal probation officer in West Covina. He is on parole for a federal drug conviction.

Michael Zimbert, his attorney, said Hutchins surrendered to his probation officer after detectives accused him of the rapes.

"He turned himself in, knowing all about these charges, and that speaks volumes," said Zimbert, insisting that his client is innocent.

Glendale Det. Tahnee Lightfoot said the serial rapist struck at night, targeting women older than 50 and alone in homes that were easy to enter. He seemed to have watched the houses, she said, because some of the women did not live alone.

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Times staff writer Laura Loh contributed to this report.

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