The brother of Ashli Babbitt, the San Diego woman fatally shot during the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, has been convicted of all charges related to a hate crime in Point Loma last fall, the City Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr., who assaulted and hurled racial slurs at an SDG&E worker, was convicted of misdemeanor battery with a hate crime allegation and violating the victim’s civil rights.
“This jury has sent a clear message that violent, abusive and racist conduct like this has no place in our community,” San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “My office will continue to prosecute and hold accountable people who commit hate crimes and I urge victims and witnesses to report all such activity.”
Prosecutors say on Sept. 14, 2021, Witthoeft became “enraged” when an SDG&E worker’s truck was stopped at a Point Loma intersection where workers were repairing a utility box, leading Witthoeft to slap the worker.
Witthoeft told him to “talk in English you (expletive) immigrant” and “go back to your country,” although the two were already communicating in English.
Witthoeft, 34, faces a potential sentence of up to a year in jail, one year of probation and a $1,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13.
Witthoeft was previously convicted of vandalism for a 2016 confrontation with a 71-year-old Latino man in Lakeside. The victim asked Witthoeft to move his pickup truck. Witthoeft came up to the victim’s truck screaming, kicked the man’s door and kicked a window out of his camper shell, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
In January, Witthoeft allegedly got into an altercation with another man on Muir Avenue in Ocean Beach, in which he’s accused of striking the victim, knocking him to the ground, then stomping on the man’s phone.
The San Diego City Attorney’s Office said the victim was helping a disabled friend out of a car when Witthoeft encountered him, angering Witthoeft because the man’s car was blocking a sidewalk.
Witthoeft was denied entry into a diversion program in a bid to have the charges dismissed due to the nature of the two recent cases, as well as the prior conviction out of East County.
The City Attorney’s Office urges victims and witnesses to report hate crimes to the San Diego Police Department or directly to the City Attorney’s Office at (619) 236-6220 or CityAttorney@sandiego.gov.