A suspected serial rapist who allegedly targeted prostitutes in Lake Elsinore and Temecula had his settlement conference postponed this week because his private attorney has not gotten all the evidence in the case, according to court records.
Melbrough Williams Jr., 45, is charged with seven counts of rape by force, three counts of robbery, and one count each of kidnap for ransom, oral copulation by force, and sexual penetration by means of force.
He is also facing sentence-enhancing allegations of sexual offenses against a kidnap victim, sexual offenses with more than one victim, being an habitual offender and committing a felony while armed.
Williams was ordered back to court Nov. 16 for a settlement conference; if no plea agreement is reached, the case will move to a preliminary hearing -- sort of a mini-trial during which a prosecutor presents evidence.
A judge then decides whether the evidence warrants a trial.
On Wednesday, Williams' attorney, Mary Bernal, asked Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael Rushton to set a hearing to address discovery issues.
Bernal contends the D.A.'s office has not complied with the discovery mandate and the judge ordered the prosecutor on the case, Sean Crandell -- he was not present at this week's hearing -- to appear before him as well.
Barring Crandell's appearance, Rushton ordered that a prosecutor familiar with the evidence in the case appear before him to address the defense concerns.
Following that hearing, a felony settlement conference should take place.
A preliminary hearing has been tentatively set for Jan. 7.
If convicted as charged, Williams reportedly faces multiple life sentences.
He remains behind bars in lieu of $10 million bail, according to court records.
According to authorities, one of the victims was raped in October 2002 in the Lake Elsinore area after being kidnapped from a location in Orange County; the three other victims were raped in the Temecula area this spring and summer, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's office.
To read about his arrest and the rape he allegedly committed in a Temecula motel June 29, click here.
The victims in this case were all working as prostitutes at the time of the crimes; Williams reportedly met the three most recent victims online, according to the D.A.'s office.
The woman who was allegedly raped in Lake Elsinore was picked up on an Anaheim street by Williams, the DA’s office reported.