VENTURA : Transient Faces Arraignment in Rape

A transient suspected of raping a woman at knifepoint in the Ventura River bottom near California 33 is scheduled to be arraigned in Municipal Court today.

Russell Richardson, 34, of Ventura allegedly befriended the victim, who is also a transient, and offered her shelter in his makeshift hut before he pushed her down, pulled out a knife and raped her Saturday, authorities said.

The 36-year-old woman had asked to camp with Richardson so she would be safe, a statement from the Ventura Sheriff's Department said. As he attacked her, she armed herself with another knife and the two fought for about 15 minutes, the statement said.

When he began bleeding from a blow to the forehead, she fled to a nearby highway call box, where she was able to summon help, the statement said.

After a short search, police arrested Richardson. After taking him for treatment at Ventura County Medical Center, he was held in lieu of $20,000 bail in Ventura County Jail.

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