Brutal assault at a Marlin home terrifies neighbors
By Christine McCarthy
MARLIN- Little more than a week after a brutal attack left a woman beaten up and bruised, neighbors in Marlin are worried they could be the next victims and many are taking extra safety precautions to protect themselves.
Around 1:30 a.m. on July 25, a man kicked down a door on Shenandoah St., exposed himself and beat a middle-aged woman nearly unconscious for his sexual gratification, according to Marlin Police Chief Darrell Allen. He punched her in the face repeatedly, breaking her nose and knocking her down until she fell onto a chair and damaged her kidney. Her wounds required stitches and days-long hospitalization. More than a week later cuts and two black eyes were still visible.
The victim told police the attacker also yelled at her, demanding to know where her elderly mother was, leading police to believe the attacker knows the family or at least is aware of who lives there.
Police said the attacker grabbed the woman's purse on the way out of the house most likely as an after-thought following the assault.
Since the attack, her neighbor, 72-year-old Kathy Richardson, is worried and is constantly watching surveillance video from the cameras a former police officer in her family has since installed all around her house. She and her family member watch the video by phone and computer. She has also scattered weapons in every room for a quick grab if someone breaks in.
"I have a hammer that I can use, and I could use this very well," Richardson said. "If this doesn't deter him, I have a gun. And I will shoot."
Richardson herself was the victim of an attack two decades ago and she hasn't forgotten the fear she felt when a man tried to rape her in southeast Texas.
"Once you've been assaulted, you're not as afraid to use a gun," Richardson said. "If it comes between you and them, you wouldn't blink."
Richardson was able to bite her attacker's finger and investigators recovered DNA to track him down and arrest him. A court later sentenced him to 42 years in prison, but the recent attack on Richardson's neighbor has made it difficult for her to sleep again.
"You cannot live in fear, but it changes your life," Richardson said, adding that she and others around Marlin believe the assault is just one of many break-ins in past months.
However, Marlin Police, said, although the rough description of the suspect as a black man in his 20's to 30's is consistent with other burglary suspects, the motives are different and, therefore, the attack seems isolated.
"The incident does not appear to be at all connected to any other incidents that we've had," said Det. Rob Douglas, adding that one nearby break-in was simply for money and another was at a local auto shop.
Douglas said police think they spotted the suspect on nearby surveillance cameras at local businesses, and they found his DNA on some items he took out of the victim's purse and threw as he was leaving the area. Those items are at a Waco crime lab awaiting being tested.
Even if there isn't a string of connected break-ins, Richardson said many other neighbors are still adding motion lights and security cameras, two safety features police are encouraging residents to invest in.
"I'm not afraid of dying," Richardson said. "I'm afraid of somebody coming in and assaulting me. I don't want to die in fear mode."
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