Ocean Beach man — brother of woman killed in Capitol riot — gets probation in two local confrontations
Roger Witthoeft Jr., 34, was sentenced for a September 2021 attack on an SDG&E worker — a charge that included a hate-crime allegation — and a January confrontation with a 65-year-old man helping a disabled friend.
An Ocean Beach man was placed on probation Dec. 13 in connection with two incidents, including an attack on a utility worker that his attorney had argued was sparked by trauma from the death of his sister Ashli Babbitt, who was shot inside the U.S. Capitol during the riot of Jan. 6, 2021.
Roger Witthoeft Jr., 34, was convicted of misdemeanor charges for a September 2021 attack on a San Diego Gas & Electric worker — which was accompanied by a hate-crime allegation — and a confrontation in January involving a 65-year-old man who was helping a disabled friend.
In the first case, a San Diego County Superior Court jury found Witthoeft guilty of misdemeanor battery and the hate-crime allegation for striking the SDG&E worker in Point Loma and shouting racial slurs at the man, who is Latino. Witthoeft also was convicted of violating the man’s civil rights.
The San Diego city attorney’s office said the man was directing traffic around a work site at Voltaire Street and Mendocino Boulevard when Witthoeft confronted him.
Prosecutors said Witthoeft slapped the worker and told him to “talk in English, you [expletive] immigrant” and “Go back to your country.’’
Witthoeft pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace in the second incident, which occurred in Ocean Beach. Prosecutors said he struck a man who was blocking a sidewalk with his car as he helped a friend unload her wheelchair from the vehicle.
Superior Court Judge Carlos Armour ordered Witthoeft to complete a year of probation and 50 hours of community service at a local nonprofit. The judge imposed a term of 30 days in jail but stayed the term, meaning Witthoeft will not have to serve that time if he doesn’t violate the terms of probation.
Witthoeft’s defense attorney, Varun Sabharwal, argued against the 30 days in custody, saying neither of the victims suffered physical injuries. He also argued that Witthoeft had been dealing with the death of his sister, which the attorney said was all the more traumatic because of the well-publicized nature of her death.
Babbitt, 35, of Ocean Beach, was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer as she tried to get through a set of doors deep inside the U.S. Capitol during a breach by supporters of then-President Donald Trump who were trying to disrupt congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Witthoeft also has a 2016 conviction stemming from an altercation with a 71-year-old man in Lakeside, in which he screamed at the man, kicked the door of the man’s truck and kicked out the window of the victim’s camper shell, according to prosecutors.
Witthoeft was charged with felony vandalism but pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was placed on probation.