SAN FRANCISCO -- A self- proclaimed vampire who is suspected in four throat-slashing attacks ignored the terms of his probation after committing a violent assault last year, and the city's Probation Department admits it did nothing to get him off the streets.
Joshua Rudiger, 21 -- who was arrested Tuesday and charged with slashing the throats of four homeless people -- had been placed on probation May 4 for shooting his roommate in a September 1997 bow-and-arrow attack.
Under terms of his probation, he was required to meet with a probation officer twice a month, but he missed at least one of his first two appointments and never made another, according to one high-ranking probation official.
"He absconded shortly after he was placed," said Carmen Bushe, director of the probation division responsible for Rudiger. "He told us he was homeless, so we didn't have much to follow up on."
Bushe acknowledged that the sheriff's department could have put Rudiger behind bars had her division formally acted to revoke his probation. But that was not done, she said.
Yesterday, Rudiger's probation was revoked. He was held without bond after being arraigned on one count of murder along with charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the slashing attacks on San Francisco streets last month.
Rudiger was arrested after a 48-year-old homeless man was attacked as he slept in a small Chinatown alley. Police believe Rudiger also is responsible for the Oct. 29 murder of Shirley Dillahunty, 48, whose throat was slashed as she slept on a Mission district sidewalk, and two Oct. 16 nonfatal slashing attacks in Chinatown.
Police said Rudiger has admitted responsibility for the four attacks and, while in custody, claimed to be a 2,000-year-old vampire who lived off the blood of his victims.
Bushe said probation is almost always revoked in the first 90 days when a person fails to report to the department. But "some probation officers are more diligent than others," she said.
The fact that Rudiger, who has a history of mental problems, was permitted to continue to walk the streets for six months after violating probation and allegedly slashed the throats of four people has left some in the district attorney's office and sheriff's department wondering how the system broke down.
"What kind of supervision allows a guy like this to go around attacking people?" asked district attorney's spokesman John Shanley. "It raises all sorts of questions."
An evaluation done by the Probation Department before he pleaded guilty to shooting his roommate, Myron Scholes, found that Rudiger "has serious problems with controlling his violent tendencies."