Benicia man, Roy Charles Waller, sentenced to 897 years

NorCal Rapist sentenced to 897 years for kidnapping, sexually assaulting women

San Francisco Chronicle, by Dustin Gardiner, Dec. 18, 2020
Roy Charles Waller appears in Sacramento County Superior Court last month, when he was found guilty of being the NorCal Rapist, who attacked nine women in their homes between 1991 and 2006. Photo: Paul Kitagaki Jr. / Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO — Roy Charles Waller, the notorious NorCal Rapist, was sentenced to 897 years in state prison Friday for attacking, kidnapping and sexually assaulting nine women in Northern California over a 15-year period.

Waller, 60, sat motionless, staring at the table in front of him, for more than an hour as several victims described in court how he had tortured and raped them in their homes.

Nicole Earnest-Payte was raped in her Rohnert Park townhouse one night in the summer of 1991 after Waller came in through through an unlocked door. She said he threatened to kill her as he committed “sadistic and fiendish acts.”

“I thought about how many flies would be on my body, and in what condition it would be found, and how my parents would experience the worst torture any parent can,” Earnest-Payte said. “He is a monster by all modern definitions of the word.”

Chronicle policy is to not identify sexual assault victims, but Earnest-Payte said she wanted her name used to show other survivors that they should not be ashamed.

Waller, a Benicia resident, was arrested in 2018 in Berkeley, where he worked at UC Berkeley’s Environmental, Health and Safety office. He started there in 1992, the year after he began his string of assaults across six counties.

A jury convicted Waller of 46 counts of sexual assault and kidnapping in November, after less than a day of deliberation. The trial was held in Sacramento County because his last two rapes took place there.

Judge James Arguelles of Sacramento County Superior Court handed down the maximum sentence, noting the heinous nature of Waller’s attacks and the fact that he planned them in detail.

Waller could eventually be eligible for elder parole around age 85 under California law, but prosecutors said it is unlikely that he would ever be released because of the brutality of his attacks.

Victims who spoke in court described how Waller tied and blindfolded them and brandished a gun. In one attack on Halloween 1996, he wore a skeleton mask while he raped a woman in Martinez. Weeks later, he called the victim at work to apologize.

Victims said he repeatedly assaulted them while they were tied up for hours. They said he seemed to have methodically planned the attacks.

One victim, identified in court as Jane Doe K of Sacramento, said she was so afraid Waller would return to attack her again that she was unable to shower for 12 years unless her husband or a friend was on speaker phone or inside the house. She said her fear ended the day Waller was arrested.

“He has no remorse, even to this date,” she said. “Only a monster is capable of committing such heinous crimes over and over again.”

Waller attacked Jane Doe T of Vallejo on Feb. 13, 1992. She said she lost the will to live, spent weeks in a mental hospital and has been plagued by anxiety ever since. She yells at her children if they leave doors or windows unlocked.

“I had a lot of anxiety wondering who he was, and if he could be right in front of my eyes,” she said. “I wondered if he ever wondered how much pain and suffering he’s caused.”

Victims said Waller seemed to find many of his victims through classified advertisements seeking a roommate. He committed attacks in Sacramento, Yolo, Butte, Contra Costa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

Prosecutors said they were able to link the assaults using DNA evidence and digital genealogy records that indicated the rapist was a member of Waller’s family.

Waller, who testified that he was innocent, did not speak in court Friday. His attorney, Joseph Farina, said he would appeal.

“Unfortunately, the DNA was just too much and we couldn’t overcome that,” Farina said outside court. “He had his day in court — that’s what he’s constitutionally entitled to.”

Moments later, a group of Waller’s victims walked out of the courthouse together. Earnest-Payte said she felt an overwhelming sense of freedom knowing Waller would die in prison.

“I never have to think about him for one more second of my life, and that is the greatest relief I could ever, ever feel,” Earnest-Payte said. “I feel released.”

San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Michael Cabanatuan contributed to this report.  Dustin Gardiner is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.