Torrance woman recounts harrowing rape by alleged attacker hours after his release from jail

Marissa Young fought for 25 agonizing minutes in a dark, deserted Torrance park against a rapist who repeatedly punched her in the face with such force that her two front teeth flew from her mouth and landed in the grass several feet away.

During the fierce life-and-death struggle in the early morning hours of July 31, Darrell Dean Waters, 46, of Los Angeles allegedly wrapped his hands around Young’s throat, choking her until she nearly passed out, savagely bit her on the breast and forced her to orally copulate him.

Marissa Young was beaten and raped in a Torrance park on July 31. Her alleged attacker was released from jail hours before the attack.(Photo courtesy of Marissa Young)

And when she cried out for help, he purportedly mocked her, sadistically asking, “Nobody is coming for you, are they?

Although the Southern California News Group does not typically name sexual assault victims, Young, 44, agreed to be identified and publicly share her harrowing account of survival.

“There really isn’t a reason to stay anonymous,” she said in an interview this week. “I have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Released from jail hours before attack

Waters was arrested for misdemeanor possession of a dirk or dagger, which is a knife or other instrument that can be used  as a stabbing weapon, shortly after 11 p.m. on July 29, Sgt. Ron Salary, a spokesman for the Torrance Police Department, said Tuesday.

Less than three hours later, he was released from custody on his own recognizance because it wasn’t clear whether the case would be prosecuted by Torrance City Attorney’s Office or the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which has a propensity for refusing to keep those charged with nonviolent offenses in jail, Salary said.

The District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Tuesday it had no role or say in the release of Waters, adding that all misdemeanors in Torrance are handled by City Attorney’s Office. Salary acknowledged city prosecutors have undertaken the dirk and dagger case against Waters.

It is unfair to blame the District Attorney’s Office or the Torrance City Attorney’s Office for Waters’ release, said Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, a union that represents Los Angeles County prosecutors.

Release not unusual

“The California constitution requires courts to consider public safety when setting bail,” he said. “Recently, this requirement has been watered down by the courts, Legislature and some prosecutors. However, when it comes to misdemeanor crimes, historically, few defendants were ever kept in custody.”

As of March 2017, which are the most recent statistics available, less than 1% of pretrial county jail inmates were there for misdemeanor crimes, Siddall said.

Young believes more must be done so that individuals arrested on misdemeanor weapons charges like Waters are locked up longer.

“If he had been kept in jail, what happened to me wouldn’t have happened,” she said. “I could have been murdered.”

Work shift ended after midnight

Young’s ordeal began around 12:30 a.m. on July 31. She arrived at her apartment following a waitressing shift at a restaurant in Redondo Beach’s Riviera Village.

Young gathered up her two dogs — a terrier mix and a dachshund mix — for a late-night walk a block away at a park at Nova Community Church in the 4300 block of Emerald Street.

The park typically would be teeming with other dog walkers and cars in the parking lot, but at that late hour it was desolate.

Darrell Dean Waters, 46, is accused of attacking and sexually assaulting a woman walking her dogs around 1 a.m. Sunday on the 4300 block of Emerald Street, north of Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of the Torrance Police Department)

Young said she and her dogs had walked about 30 yards toward a trash can when Waters tackled her from behind and violently threw her to the ground.

Fought back

She fought back but was overpowered due to her small stature.

“He had me upside down and was choking me,” Young said. “He was beating me severely. He tried to force oral copulation on me but I bit down on his penis as hard as I could. He said, ‘You got me good, bitch’.”

Young recalled that as she was being raped and pummeled, one of her dogs licked the blood from her mouth. She asked Waters if he was going to kill her, but he said “No.” Then he loosened his death grip and ambled into the darkness.

Meanwhile, Young ran to the first home she could find and pounded on the front door. A startled woman who answered initially refused to let Young inside, but acquiesced after seeing her horrific injuries.

Police arrested Waters on Aug. 1 about two miles from the park near South Inglewood Avenue and 190th Street on the border of Redondo Beach and Torrance, Young said.

Waters has been charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, and sexual penetration by use of force. He remains in Los Angeles County Jail without bail. Officials say he also was convicted of robbery in 1994.

Gascón: Victim showed ‘incredible bravery’

The violent attack in Torrance sent shockwaves through the South Bay, District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.

“The victim, in this case, exhibited incredible bravery,” he said. “This awful attack could have ended even more tragically were it not for her tremendous will.”

Despite the praise from Gascón, Young still suffers residual damage from an attack that she describes as “life-altering.”

She has undergone four reconstructive surgeries to repair her broken and missing teeth and also is receiving psychiatric therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Young’s anxiety was heightened on Aug. 23 when she had to testify at Waters’ preliminary hearing.

“I did extremely well and had to brace myself,” she said. “It was scary. He was sitting 12 feet away from me. I caught his gaze. He stared at me the entire time.”

Raising funds

For now, Young is unable to work. Friends have launched a fundraising campaign on her behalf so she can make ends meet while she plans for the future.

“I want to attend nursing school and put my life back together,” she said. “But I need time to heal from this attack and the absolute disruption of my life.”

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