Rape suspect held on $1M bond after woman was found beaten and h - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Rape suspect held on $1M bond after woman found beaten, half-dressed

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Chattanooga police officers answered a call over the weekend where they found a beaten up woman half-dressed after she was attacked in a park.

A 46-year-old man is now in custody on a $1 million dollar bond after he reportedly held a box cutter to the woman's throat and raped her.

Chattanooga police arrested Richard James Witherow Monday morning after the woman sought help over the weekend.

The woman, who suffered abrasions to her neck and had both lips bloodied, reported the attack on Sunday.

She told police that Witherow was an acquaintance. The two began talking after she exited a CARTA bus at Miller Plaza. They went to Broad Street where they purchased beer and cigarettes before going to a park on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

The woman used Witherow's cell phone a couple of times to phone City Cafe. She eventually told Witherow that she wanted to leave and planned to go to Mellow Mushroom to panhandle.

According to an arrest report, Witherow told her not to go and offered her money in exchange for sex. When she said no, he attacked her in the park.

The woman was beat during the attack anytime that she screamed.

Witherow is accused of strangling the woman. She blacked out several times.

Witherow eventually let her go and the woman was able to call police.

Cell phone information from the calls to City Cafe and the woman identifying Witherow as her attacker led to an arrest.

Court records show Witherow has two prior arrests for domestic assault.

He is scheduled to appear in Hamilton County Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck's courtroom on an aggravated rape charge July 14.

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