Man to Stand Trial in Bag Lady Attack

An undocumented Mexican alien was ordered Friday to stand trial for the near-fatal beating Sept. 1 of the Bag Lady of Pacific Beach at a public restroom on the beach.

Municipal Court Judge Robert J. Stahl Jr. bound over Jose Hernandez Herrera, 26, on charges of attempted murder, assault resulting in great bodily injury and assault with intent to commit rape. One count of rape was dropped because of lack of evidence.

Herrera, who remains in County Jail on $100,000 bond, is to be arraigned Oct. 11 in Superior Court.

Defense attorney Michael Popkins asked Stahl to dismiss the attempted murder charge, but the judge refused, saying, “You can’t help but come to the conclusion that there was some malice and forethought by the defendant” because of the severity of the victim’s injuries.

Dr. James Pietraszek, a plastic surgeon who performed reconstructive surgery on the woman’s face, testified at Friday’s preliminary hearing that “literally every bone in her face was fractured” by at least three direct blows.


He agreed with Deputy Dist. Atty. Frank Brown’s statement that the injuries were “life-threatening,” saying the woman, identified as Joanne Rutledge, 55, required 40 units of blood before surgery.