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CA- Suicide note reveals rapist's sorrow

Fugitive Washington wrote of divorce, death of mother

3-9-2008 California:

In the goodbye letter he left for police, Jason Washington talked about losing the three women who meant the most to him: his ex-wife, aunt and mother.

The typed, two-page note is dated Feb. 21, the same day he raped a Solana Beach woman. He began by saying, “It was a wonderful life.” He taped it to his dresser and walked away from his home.

Washington killed himself Feb. 26, after authorities accused him of raping the 23-year-old Solana Beach woman and trying to rape a 15-year-old girl in Rancho San Diego two days later.

The body of the 33-year-old computer technician and former Marine was found in his white 2000 Honda CR-V near his home in El Cajon. He had shot himself in the head. Three photocopies of his suicide note were in the Honda.

The details in the note are among the new facts emerging in a case that unnerved residents across San Diego County and sent authorities on a round-the-clock manhunt.

Sheriff's Detective Pete Carrillo said Washington's girlfriend broke up with him on Valentine's Day, a week before the rape.

Two days after the breakup, Washington was arrested for drunken driving in San Diego, giving police his fingerprints and a mug shot.

Washington mentions the arrest in his letter, but not the breakup.

“He talks about losing his mother in death and his wife divorcing him and an aunt who died,” Carrillo said. “He's essentially describing how his life has spiraled out of control and what he's going through, including financial trouble.

“He was obviously a disturbed man who was still grieving the loss of those women.”

A sample of Washington's DNA matched one taken in the Solana Beach case, Carrillo said.

During the manhunt, Carrillo quickly tried to figure out what was motivating Washington. The detective called Gary Lowe, a lecturer specializing in sexual-assault training for law enforcement at California State University Sacramento.

“This guy fits a profile of men who commit rapes out of a built-up anger,” Lowe said. “They usually choose stranger-type victims, women they can sneak up on and overwhelm.”

Both victims were petite. The first was walking before dark; the second was jogging in the morning. Washington was 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 205 pounds.

“There's a lot of violence in these types of rapes,” Lowe said. “They're punishing these women for perceived wrongs they've suffered at the hands of women. . . . He had reached the boiling point.”

Washington's DNA now is being compared with known and unknown samples taken from sexual-assault cases filed in a national database. Authorities should know in two weeks if there's a match.

Investigators zeroed in on Washington after lifting a fingerprint he left on a recreational vehicle in Rancho San Diego. The 15-year-old told police she saw her attacker leaning against the RV to stretch. She jogged past and he grabbed her, but she fought him off.
“She's a hero,” said Carrillo, the lead detective. “She probably saved a lot of other victims. She helped us break the case.

“Really, because of these women and their willingness to come forward, we were able to get the information we needed.”

The print taken from the RV matched the fingerprints San Diego police had on Washington.

“When I finally had a face and a name, I was ecstatic,” Carrillo said.

Authorities also had a gun the attacker dropped while struggling with the teenager. The registration came back to Washington.

Carrillo and his team believed Washington would be looking for another victim, so help came from as many as 50 detectives. Deputies and police from El Cajon and other agencies looked for Washington's Honda, a SWAT team searched his home, and crime scene investigators analyzed lab evidence.

“They weren't going to stop until they caught him, because he was hurting women,” sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said.

No one close to Washington seemed to think he would snap, but they knew he was struggling.

Washington was selling his Sandalwood Drive home because his mortgage had an adjustable rate that was ballooning, and the home was no longer worth what he owed.

Cheryl Paz, a former nanny for Washington's 12-year-old daughter, said Washington had been experimenting with Ecstasy, a drug popular in nightclubs.

Paz also said Washington was a good man who loved his daughter. The girl is now with her mother, a former girlfriend.

Washington divorced in 2006 after eight years of marriage. Authorities weren't sure when his aunt died. He lost his mother last year.

“I know he was sad over his mom,” Paz said. “But I didn't think he was that distraught.” ..more.. by Tony Manolatos, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

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