SAN JOSE -- Police have arrested a man accused of savagely beating a woman while trying to steal her purse and then attacking another woman who came to her aid last week in downtown San Jose.
Edward Leo Brown Jr., 54, of San Jose, has been booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and felony battery. Brown, who is being held without bail, has a lengthy criminal past of more than 30 cases and if convicted could be subject to a lifetime prison sentence per the state's Three Strikes Law.
Investigators connected Brown with the attack reported about 10 p.m. the night of Feb. 11 near North Ninth and East Santa Clara streets, where a woman walking home was approached from behind and hit in the back of the head. She fell to the ground, but the attacker did not stop: He repeatedly punched her in the face and at one point, police say, he "grabbed the victim's head and bashed it into the concrete sidewalk and pulled the victim's purse away from her."
"This was a completely unprovoked attack," police said in a statement.
A woman in the vicinity heard the victim's screams for help and tried to pull the man away, prompting him to turn his attention and punch her in the face several times. Another bystander ran over and took the victim's purse away from the attacker, who then ran away.
Both the original victim and the good Samaritan who was attacked were treated by paramedics at the scene.
According to Santa Clara County court records, Brown has served four prison terms over the past 30 years and has been a chronic violator of his probation and parole. Past felony convictions cover offenses including battery, assault with a deadly weapon and DUI. He has at least 26 misdemeanor convictions including assaulting a police officer, drug offenses, theft and spousal abuse.
Brown's first two "strikes" stem from a 1990 case where he was fired as a drywall installer and punched his employer, breaking the victim's nose and eye socket, and a 1988 case where he drove into a group of people, hitting someone, then brandishing a gun at them.
Besides that, Brown was convicted of assaulting his teenage daughter, and his most recent conviction occurred in 2007 after he assumed the identity of his deceased father to continue receiving insurance for his car. Brown's driving privileges had been revoked at the time.
Anyone with information about the attack can contact Detective Todd Jennings in the San Jose Police Department robbery unit at 408-277-4166. Anonymous tips can be left with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867) or tipsubmit.com.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.