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Case against W.Va. man charged with rape transferred to Washington Co. Circuit Court

Richard Ernest Brightwell Jr. is being held without bail in the Washington County Detention Center

February 04, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Brightwell

The case of a West Virginia man recently charged with raping a teenager four times in 2006 was transferred Thursday to Washington County Circuit Court following a preliminary hearing this week in District Court.

Richard Ernest Brightwell Jr., 32, of 25 Pilgrim  St., Inwood, W.Va., is charged with four counts each of first- and second-degree rape, second-degree assault and third-degree sexual offense; three counts of false imprisonment; two counts each of kidnapping a child under the age of 16, possession of a firearm in a vehicle and possession of a handgun on his person; and one count each of first-degree assault and possession of a handgun in the commission of a violent crime, according to a summary of charges filed by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Judge Mark D. Thomas ruled at the end of Thursday's hearing that there was probable cause to transfer the case to circuit court, Assistant State's Attorney Mark K. Boyer said. Brightwell is being held without bail in the Washington County Detention Center.

Brightwell is also charged with second-degree sexual assault of a teen-age girl in Berkeley County, W.Va. He waived extradition from West Virginia in January, court records said.

Detective Arnold B. Cerezo of the sheriff's office was the only witness called to testify at the hearing, Boyer said.

A detective with the Hagerstown Police Department contacted the sheriff's office in November about a woman who alleged she had been raped by Brightwell several times in 2006 when she was 15, the application for statement of charges said.

The woman said the first incident occurred on Halloween in 2006 when Brightwell offered her a ride to her home from his former residence on East Avenue in Hagerstown, the charging documents said.  

Instead, Brightwell allegedly drove to a farm, pulled a gun and raped her, the documents said.

The woman alleged Brightwell raped her again in his basement on Thanksgiving, the documents said. Prior to Christmas, the woman alleged Brightwell drove her to an abandoned house and raped her again, the documents said.

The final incident also allegedly occurred in December when Brightwell raped her in a business parking lot, the documents said.

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