SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A man who gained online notoriety for his harassing behavior and his modified bus that was parked in Isla Vista has been convicted of multiple counts of rape.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Thursday that a jury found Zachary Barker Coughlin guilty of all 14 charges he faced, including multiple counts of rape, kidnapping and other sex offenses against multiple victims.
Coughlin, who previously worked as a licensed attorney, was arrested in May 2020 on stalking charges after sheriff's deputies received multiple complaints of harassment and aggressive behavior. Coughlin's modified bus, referred to as the "Mirror Bus" by the sheriff's office and Isla Vista residents, parked on various streets and corners in the college community. For students at UCSB, the strange vehicle appeared seemingly out of the blue.
Those who dug deeper found that Coughlin had an active presence on social media. His alarming online behavior captured the attention of local law enforcement, in addition to our newsroom.
An Instagram account belonging to Coughlin included many expletive-filled rants, screenshots of private conversations and images of women in bathing suits. He also made references to the 2014 Isla Vista killings that left seven people dead and shocked the same community where he decided to take residence.
Following dozens of bizarre interactions with residents, numerous complaints and police reports, he was arrested after detectives uncovered evidence that he was stalking an Isla Vista woman.
While in jail, detectives reviewed several of his digital storage devices and uncovered evidence of multiple sexual assaults that Coughlin committed against several women.
Following this discovery, Coughlin was charged with several counts of rape and other felony crimes.
Detectives were able to locate at least two of the women believed to have been sexually assaulted by Coughlin.
During the process that led to Coughlin's conviction, several of his victims and survivors testified.
“As a result of all of their collective efforts, the defendant will no longer be able to prey upon any more victims,” Dudley said.
Coughlin is due back in court on October 20 at 1:30 p.m. to be sentenced.