One of two women testifying Tuesday in a series of roadside attacks that terrorized Sonoma County residents identified Thomas Boccaleoni as the man who tricked her into pulling over on a darkened Sebastopol road, fondled her and threatened her before she escaped.
The woman, identified only as Jane Doe 3, said in the preliminary hearing for Boccaleoni, 44, of Cotati, that the attack happened April 18 as she was driving home from a musical performance at the Hopmunk Tavern in Sebastopol.
A car behind her flashed its lights repeatedly and drove along side her. The driver urged her to pull over, saying there was something leaking from her car, she testified.
She stopped on rural Sexton Road, got out and saw there was nothing wrong with her minivan. When she tried to get back in her car, the man wedged himself in the door, ran his hands up her body and grabbed her neck.
The woman said he threatened to kill her if she didn't cooperate. When he told her to put her hands on the steering wheel, she instead put her car in gear and sped off.
"I started shaking," she said. "My body went into shock." The witness went on to identify Boccaleoni, who was seated in court in a blue jail uniform.
The former cook at Marin Joes in Corte Madera is accused of nine felonies in connection with three roadside attacks on women in 2008 and 2009 and suspected in 10 other cases around Sonoma County.
Among the charges are a count of genital penetration, three counts of assault with attempt to commit rape and two of false imprisonment with violence — allegations that could bring him more than 40 years in prison if he is convicted, prosecutor Jason Riehl said.
Boccaleoni has pleaded not guilty.
Police said he was being watched for about a week before he was arrested April 28.
Most charges involve women driving alone who reported a man — his face sometimes masked or covered — flashing his headlights, driving alongside them and feigning emergencies to get them to stop.
In a Jan. 6, 2009 case, a woman stopped on Calistoga Road but escaped as her attacker tried to force open her window and door.
Another woman testified Tuesday she was driving home from Santa Rosa Junior College culinary school the night of Nov. 18, 2008 when someone behind her flashed their high-beams on Bennett Valley Road. The car drove alongside her in the opposing traffic lane and she eventually decided to pull over, she testified.
"I just decided I couldn't take it anymore," she said.
A man with his face partially concealed by a black turtleneck sweater came to her window and told her to call 911 because there had been a motorcycle accident, she said.
But when she dialed the numbers on her cell, the man snapped it shut before she could hit send, she said.
He then instructed her to put her hands on the steering wheel and threatened to slit her throat if she didn't cooperate, she said. He began fondling her breast and put another hand down her pants and penetrated her, she said.
She could not identify Boccaleoni, but prosecutors said they have linked him to the crime through DNA evidence taken from her clothing.