W.Va. man charged with abduction, sexual assault

December 02, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg man was charged Wednesday with abducting a woman more than a year ago, raping her and then setting her car on fire in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence, according to records filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Robert Anthony Sims, 40, of 1219 N. Queen St., was charged with abduction, first-degree sexual assault, malicious assault and third-degree arson.

According to a criminal complaint prepared by Cpl. Willie Johnson, with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department, the woman was raped on Aug. 12, 2003.


The woman told police that she met the man at a bar in Maryland and agreed to go for a ride with him. She let him drive her car because she was unfamiliar with the area, Johnson said.

After the man - whose name the woman did not know - drove to a dead-end road near a bridge, he made advances toward the woman, who refused him, police said.

The man then beat the woman, causing her to have "swollen eyes and facial features, face fractures and multiple cuts about the face area," Johnson wrote in his report.

After raping her, the man kept the woman in her car against her will and drove around for a while before returning to the same dead-end spot, which police identified as being on Myers Bridge Road.

When another car drove to the dead-end spot, the woman escaped and ran to that car. The driver of that car took the woman to the hospital, police said.

As Deputy Jarrett Jones responded to the area where the rape happened he spotted the victim's car and tried to make the driver pull over. The driver was able to elude police, records state.

While the victim was being interviewed at the hospital, police received a call of a burning vehicle in Scrabble, W.Va. The burning car, which was destroyed, belonged to the victim, police said.

Tips from public

A composite sketch that police put together with the victim was released to the media, prompting two people to call police with tips that the man in the sketch looked like Sims, Johnson said.

When the victim was shown photographs on Sept. 6, 2003, of several different men, including Sims, she identified Sims as the man who raped her, records state.

Since then, police had been looking for Sims, who was picked up in Florida about a week ago and brought back to Martinsburg, Johnson said.

Sims was being held Wednesday night in Eastern Regional Jail on $275,000 bail.

Conviction on a charge of abduction carries a sentence of three to 10 years in prison, conviction on a charge of first-degree sexual assault carries a sentence of 15 to 35 years in prison, conviction on a charge of malicious assault carries a sentence of two to 10 years in prison and conviction on a charge of third-degree arson carries a sentence of one to three years in prison.

The Herald-Mail Articles