Yolo County Manager of Operations & Strategy
(Public Information Officer)
625 Court Street, Room 202
Woodland, CA 95695
Phone: (530) 666-8042
FAX: (530) 669-4029
Woodland Man Convicted of First Degree Murder with Special Circumstances and Sexual Assault
(Woodland, CA) – August 1, 2019 District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that 28-year-old Woodland man, Rohail Sarwar, was convicted by a Yolo County Jury of First Degree Murder, with the special circumstances of lying in wait, of committing the murder in the commission of a burglary, and an enhancement for the personal use of a weapon. The jury also convicted Sarwar of a sexual assault against a separate victim, which occurred about a month before the murder.
The evidence presented during trial established that in late July or early August of 2018, Rohail Sarwar received a massage in Cottonwood Massage. After the massage Sarwar attacked the masseuse, S.X., demanding sex. After a struggle Sarwar abandoned the assault and left on foot. That assault had initially gone unreported, because the masseuse did not think that she would be believed.
On August 21, 2018, Sarwar called his mistress, wanting to meet for sex. When she was unable to meet with him, Sawar walked to the Cottonwood Plaza, where Cottonwood Massage is located. Sarwar entered a liquor store, purchased a knife, and then monitored the front door of Cottonwood Massage for several minutes. When the only customer inside left, Sarwar entered Cottonwood Massage and requested a massage from Junying Lu, the only employee working inside. While inside Cottonwood Massage Sarwar stabbed Mrs. Lu fourteen times, four of which where fatal.
Officers with the Woodland Police Department conducted an extensive investigation. Officers collected video of Sarwar buying the murder weapon, monitoring the entrance to Cottonwood Massage and then entering. Video from a nearby business showed Sarwar walking on Cottonwood Street after the murder, with his hands covered in blood. The victim’s blood was found on clothing at Sarwar’s home and Sarwar’s fingerprint was found in the victim’s blood on the murder weapon.
The trial took place before Judge Paul Richardson. The trial began on July 15, 2019, and the jury reached its verdict on August 1, 2019, after about six hours of deliberation. The jury convicted Sarwar of all charges and found that all the special circumstances were true. Judge Richardson is scheduled to sentence Sarwar on September 12, 2019. Sarwar faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
District Attorney Jeff Reisig offered his condolences to the family of Junying Lu. “This is the type of conduct that tears lives apart,” Mr. Reisig said. “We cannot bring Mrs. Lu back to her family, or even imagine the depths of their pain. We only hope that knowing her killer will never be free can bring them a small amount of solace as they continue to mourn the loss of their loving wife, mother, and grandmother.”