OXNARD : Man in 3-Strikes Case Faces New Charges

An Oxnard man facing a possible sentence of life in prison for petty theft under the state’s “three-strikes” law must now stand trial for allegedly attempting to forcibly sodomize his cellmate, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Ventura County Municipal Judge Herbert Curtis III set an Aug. 31 Superior Court arraignment for Roosevelt C. McCowan after the alleged victim testified that McCowan chased him around his cell at Ventura County Jail for an hour and tried to sodomize him.

Curtis ordered McCowan, 51 of Oxnard, to stand trial on two counts of attempted sodomy--a ruling the defense called a partial victory because McCowan had been accused by prosecutors of one count of forcible sodomy and one count of sodomy committed in a correctional facility.

“I’m pleased with his ruling because that significantly changes what this case is all about,” Deputy Public Defender Douglas W. Daily said. “And I think at trial, we are going to be able to demonstrate that this alleged victim is no victim at all. Nothing happened to this man.”


Prosecutors have said that McCowan sodomized the man one day after being convicted of stealing 18 bottles of cologne and qualifying for a three-strikes sentence.

Under the three-strikes statute, judges must sentence anyone who has two prior violent or serious felonies and who is convicted of a third felony to at least 25 years to life in prison.

The 31-year-old alleged victim is serving a short jail term for petty theft.