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Court Hearing Set for Santa Barbara Man Accused of Abuse, Hate Crimes

Michael John Stinchfield, 55, has pleaded not guilty to 13 felonies after a November incident at his downtown home

Michael John Stinchfield, 55, has pleaded not guilty to 13 felony counts, including sexual abuse and hate crimes, in connection with a Nov. 2, 2012, attack on two women in downtown Santa Barbara.

Michael John Stinchfield, 55, has pleaded not guilty to 13 felony counts, including sexual abuse and hate crimes, in connection with a Nov. 2, 2012, attack on two women in downtown Santa Barbara.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

A preliminary hearing date has been set for next month in the bizarre case of a Santa Barbara man who is accused of assault, sexual abuse and hate crimes.

Michael John Stinchfield, 55, pleaded not guilty to 13 felony charges in Superior Court in Santa Barbara last November.

Several weeks earlier, officers were dispatched to his home in the 1700 block of Garden Street just before 5 a.m. to a report of a disturbance in progress.

When they arrived, two women were seen running out of the house, one of whom was screaming, and both had visible injuries, according to Santa Barbara police Detective Michael Claytor.

The women told officers that Stinchfield attacked them with a bat, held them against their will for several hours and sexually assaulted them.

Stinchfield was taken into custody at the scene and later booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail, where he is being held without bail.

A preliminary hearing is held before a judge, who will determine if there is enough evidence to merit a full trial.

The District Attorney’s Office has charged Stinchfield with assault with intent to commit rape, sexual battery by restraint, dissuading a witness by force or threat, criminal threats, false imprisonment by violence, and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury with a weapon, allegedly beating both women with a bat and one of them with a guitar strap.

The complaint charges Stinchfield with the same charges for each woman.

However, with the first victim, identified only as Jane Doe 1, Stinchfield faces special allegations of a hate crime based on the woman’s sexual orientation.

Stinchfield’s preliminary hearing will be held Feb. 26, and Deputy District Attorney Ben Ladinig said responding officers are likely to be called to the stand as witnesses.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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