A July 6 trial date was confirmed today for a man accused of trying abduct three girls during separate roadside encounters in San Jacinto in February.
Kareem Amil Lewis, 34, is charged with three counts each of attempted kidnapping, annoying a minor and communicating with a child with the intent to commit a felony.
Lewis appeared with his attorney before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jerry Johnson, who set the trial date after receiving tentative acknowledgements from the prosecution and defense that each would be prepared to move forward after the Fourth of July holiday.
Lewis, who remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, was located in April at a residence in San Bernardino after authorities had tried to find him for more than a month.
During a preliminary hearing last month, one of the alleged victims testified that she encountered Lewis while walking home on Feb. 13. The girl alleged that the defendant drove past her multiple times before finally pulling to the curb and calling out to her.
She said he asked her whether she needed a ride, but she kept walking, fearing the 6-foot-3, 240-pound man might attempt to physically assault her.
Another girl alleged that Lewis approached her in a red vehicle and yelled out, “Hey, cutie, you need a ride?” The middle school student alleged that he followed her for a while, prompting her to run home.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by sheriff’s Detective Cassandre Pemberton, a 15-year-old girl on her way home from school on Feb. 14 said a big man in a red Ford Mustang accosted her, “opened the passenger door
from inside and asked (her) if she needed a ride.”
The teenager fled and told her family what happened.
The following day, the girl’s 21-year-old sister was returning from the grocery store with her child when she spotted a similar vehicle circling the neighborhood, “passing her multiple times by making u-turns,” Pemberton wrote.
The driver stopped and asked her if she wanted a lift, at which point the woman noted the license plate, ignoring the inquiry. She gave the information to sheriff’s deputies, who traced the plate back to Lewis’ girlfriend’s residence in Hemet, according to Pemberton.
Deputy District Attorney Ed Jensen said the car turned out to be a red Chrysler Sebring, though several victims mistook it for a Mustang.
The alleged victims identified Lewis based on a photographic lineup, according to investigators.