VISTA, Calif. – In trying to make sense out of a non-sensible encounter that had just occurred in his own front yard, the husband of Jane Doe No. 3 offered up a reasonable summation of the situation.
“Apparently,” he said, “we have a pervert living in the neighborhood.”
That much is undeniable, even if everything else is in dispute. The comment was recorded via the body camera of a San Diego sheriff deputy who had come to Doe’s home in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. The deputy was there to investigate an allegation by Jane Doe No. 3 that a man had walked into her yard while she was gardening and exposed himself to her.
“There was this person and he came and took off his pants,” Doe testified. “I don’t know what to say.”
Prosecutors say the person was Kellen Winslow II, the former NFL star standing trial on 12 counts here, including seven felonies related to three alleged rapes, two of them of 50-something homeless and transient women he met on the streets of Encinitas, a suburban San Diego beach town.
If convicted, Winslow faces life in prison, a remarkable, and bizarre fall for a talented player who earned some $40 million in his football career and is the son of locally beloved former Chargers Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow Sr.
Winslow’s defense noted that Doe No. 3 never identified Winslow and admits that she tried to not even look at the perpetrator's face during both this encounter and a previous one.
Who exactly the jury believes the pervert is – either Winslow or some other muscular, African-American cyclist – could determine this case. While the charges here are just misdemeanors, the belief that Winslow is some kind of creep trying to prey upon older women would lend credence to the more serious rape crimes he faces.
Doe is a small, thin, 59-year-old Vietnamese woman who testified Thursday via translator. She told a wild tale of cutting flowers in her front-yard garden on the afternoon of May 24, 2018, when a man pulled up on his bicycle and approached her.
She said she’d briefly met him the month before when he also rode up and introduced himself as “David.” He then asked her if she was married. She said yes and tried to walk away. He left. Now he was back.
“I was cutting flowers and he was right there,” Doe said, signaling her side. “He walked up behind me. … He asked if I was cutting a lot of flowers. I said, ‘Only these flowers.’ ”
She then tried to walk away, toward her side yard, hoping he would leave. He didn’t.
“Oh no, he didn’t want to see the flowers,” she said.
“I was walking toward the orange tree and he was following me,” she testified. “Then he took off his pants and exposed his penis to me. … I said ‘No, no, no,’ and then I walked away.”
Doe said he was wearing a tight cyclist outfit and pulled his shorts down just enough so he exposed himself to her. She was stunned and offended, she said. Once he left, she awoke her husband from a nap.
They then called the police “because he came to my house and showed me his penis,” she said. “That’s very sick.”
Indeed. The question is whether that person was Winslow. Doe described a muscular man, aged 35-40, with tattoos on both arms and both hair and skin tone that match the defendant. However, she also told the investigating deputy, Kyle Klein, that he stood about 5-foot-8 with a medium build.
Winslow, 35, was listed at 6-5, 240 pounds during his football playing days. He appears slighter than that now, but only so much. He is a known cyclist.
Prosecutors did not ask Doe to identify Winslow in court on Thursday. It’s not clear she even knew he was there. On the stand she said that Vietnamese custom is not to look strangers in the face and her two encounters with the man were brief and disturbing.
“I don’t care about him,” she said. “I don’t look at him.”
On the stand she said she didn’t know the height of the man but surmised that he was smaller than Deputy Klein, who later said he stands “6-3, 6-4” and weighs about “250 pounds.”
“That person is not as fat as the deputy because the deputy is very fat,” Doe said, causing the courtroom to break out in laughter.
In fairness, Klein is an avid weightlifter and wears a bulletproof vest under his uniform.
The misidentification, or lack of identification, is the best shot the defense has of arguing away this incident. It is clear something happened to Doe, who told a believable tale and obviously was not particularly comfortable being in court.
She struggled with both nerves and the language barrier during court and seemed quite pleased when Judge Blaine Bowman told her she was allowed to leave – she stood up and bowed to him before shaking his hand.
Winslow needs the jury to believe there is another man who fits at least some of his characteristics that is also an avid cyclist who appears to have an affinity for perverse encounters with 50-something-year-old women. Possible? Sure. And maybe that’s all that is needed. Probable? That may be a tougher bar to clear.
In just three days of testimony, the prosecution has established a pattern of behavior from Winslow. He allegedly picked up a 55-year-old transient woman (Jane Doe 1) who was walking the streets and raped her in his car at a nearby shopping center. He allegedly raped a then 58-year-old homeless woman (Jane Doe 2) in his car after picking her up by offering to buy her coffee.
He, and his slick car, appear to be well-known in the homeless community in Encinitas, where he regularly talked to Doe No. 2 outside the downtown transit station. Still to come is an alleged rape at a 2003 party and a separate exposure incident allegedly involving Winslow and a 77-year-old woman in a health club hot tub.
Each allegation has holes in it, some more significant than others, but by having all of the cases tried together, the state is able to chip away at any reasonable doubt in a specific case.
Thursday was the strangest tale yet, and, for the sake of Doe No. 3’s well-being, the most harmless. Whoever that cyclist was who walked into her yard, at least he never got a hold of her.
“The guy comes right on the property,” her husband said in the body cam footage. “That’s pretty bold.”
To say the least.
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