Jury selection for probationer charged with trying to snatch Lake Elsinore boys on Monday

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Marcus Joseph DeWitt Valley News/Riverside County Sheriff's Department

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Jury selection is slated to get underway Monday for the trial of a 30-year-old probationer accused of attempting to abduct two Lake Elsinore boys — one of whom he briefly held and ran away with — at a park playground.
Marcus Joseph DeWitt of Lake Elsinore was arrested in March after the alleged offenses at Rosetta Canyon Sports Park in the 44400 block of Ardenwood Way.
DeWitt is charged with kidnapping to commit rape, attempted kidnapping to commit rape and lewd acts on a child.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz heard pretrial motions in the case today and ordered multiple panels of prospective jurors to the Riverside Hall of Justice Monday for screening.
The defendant is being held on $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Fredericks, DeWitt entered the park about 11:30 a.m. March 11 and walked into the playground, where he is alleged to have approached a 3-year-old boy and grabbed him by the arm as the child played inside a piece of playground equipment. He was unable to pick the boy up and turned his attention to a nearby 4-year-old boy.
DeWitt allegedly scooped up that child and tried to flee, but “the victim’s parents and other family members observed the abduction and were able to catch DeWitt and wrestle the child out of his grasp,” the sergeant said.
Fredericks further alleged that the 6-foot-4, 275-pound defendant attempted to continue running but was pulled down by a male relative of the boy. He said additional witnesses helped hold DeWitt until deputies reached the scene.
No one was injured, including the children, he said.
Deputies took DeWitt into custody without a struggle, he said.
According to court records, DeWitt has prior misdemeanor convictions for lewd and lascivious conduct, obstruction of justice, violating a court restraining order and vandalism.