A 28-year-old man accused of severely beating a stripper he had hired — and then cheated — was convicted Thursday of three felonies by a Superior Court jury in Santa Barbara that deliberated for just a few hours.
Nicholas Robert McCullough, 28, ordered the stripper to his room in Carpinteria on Oct. 8, 2010, and ended up taking the money back, which led to a struggle and him “pummeling” her, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman.
McCullough punched the woman in the face, leaving her unconscious, with broken cheekbones and permanent nerve damage, Waldman said, adding that he also bit her.
The trial started almost a month ago, and jurors found McCullough guilty of battery causing serious bodily injury, which is a three-strikes offense; assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury plus the special allegation of personally inflicting great bodily injury; and false imprisonment by violence.
When these offenses were committed, McCullough was out on bail for a pending felony case in Ventura County, which will add another two years to his sentence, Waldman said.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10, and Waldman said she intends to ask for the maximum term of nine years and eight months from Judge Frank Ochoa.
The Ventura case has four victims, two of whom were allowed to testify in this case, including a kidnap victim and a woman who had a knife put to her throat and was driven miles away from her car and dropped off in an abandoned area, Waldman said.
“I’m very proud of the victim, she was very brave,” Waldman said. “When you work part-time as a stripper, it would often be embarrassing and private, so private that you might let something like this happen and not stand up. She withstood all that and testified, and we couldn’t have done it without her.”
Waldman said she also was grateful to the jury.
“This was a case where it was easy to look at people testifying and judge them, because they choose different lifestyles, and maybe not care about the victim in this case because of the lifestyle choices she’s made – and they clearly didn’t do that,” she said. “So I’m very pleased with their ability to sort through the crap, and get down to what this case was really about, and that was the beating.”