Four charges against an Oak Ridge man that included attempted second-degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping were dismissed in July after a victim or state witness failed to appear, according to court records and court officials.
Jacob Lynn Rutherford, 22, had also been charged with aggravated assault and assault. Those charges were also dismissed.
Rutherford had been charged in two separate alleged assaults this year, one on February 25 and another on April 28. Police responded to both alleged assaults at 101 Locust Lane, where Rutherford lives.
Rutherford allegedly used a metal rod in one of the beatings, authorities said, and he was also accused of hitting the woman in the head with a gun and forcing her into his vehicle at gunpoint, according to arrest warrants.
The charges were dismissed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge on July 26, when a state witness or victim did not appear. Judgements on the aggravated assault and especially aggravated kidnapping charges said the victim failed to appear. That’s the same victim as in the attempted second-degree murder charge.
It’s not clear if the the Anderson County District Attorney General’s Office might take the charges to the Anderson County Grand Jury for its consideration, or if the DA would need the victim’s cooperation to prosecute the case.
It appears that authorities were not able to serve subpoenas, which order someone to be in court at a certain date and time, on the two women involved in the two separate assaults, according to Anderson County General Sessions Court records.
In the first alleged assault, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Kenneth Prickett said the victim, a Powell woman, showed signs of bruising around her right eye and blood around her nose, according to warrants filed in February.
“(She) also showed bruising around her right wrist and swelling in her right hand,” Prickett said in an arrest warrant.
The victim said Rutherford began fighting her and punching her the night before (February 24) because she woke him up, Prickett said. Rutherford assaulted her in a similar manner early the morning of February 25, the victim told Prickett.
In the second case, which was Thursday, April 28, ORPD Officer Sherrill Selby responded to the Locust Lane home on a report of a male beating a female.
In warrants, Selby said she found Rutherford at the side door with blood on his right hand.
She found the victim, a Knox County woman, inside the home.
“The victim was covered in blood on her face, neck, stomach, and arms,” Selby said. “Affiant (Selby) also observed large blue knots on the victim’s left eye and side of the face and several large blue knots on the left side of her face, along with scratches and bruising on her throat consistent with her statement of being strangled by the defendant.”
The victim had feared for her life and tried to leave the home, but she was allegedly chased down by Rutherford and dragged back into the home, where she was held against her will, the warrants said.
Rutherford allegedly hit her several times in the head with a metal rod, punched her all over her body, head, and face, and strangled and kicked her repeatedly in the face and head, according to the warrants.
“The defendant then told the victim he was going to get his gun and kill her just before (Selby) arrived,” the warrants said.
The victim said the assault began earlier that Thursday in Rocky Top at the home of Rutherford’s mother. The victim asked the mother for a ride to get away from Rutherford, but he allegedly pulled out a gun and hit the victim in the head several times before forcing her into his vehicle at gunpoint and driving her to his home at 101 Locust Lane, the warrants said.
The assault charge was filed in the first incident, and the attempted second-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault charges were filed in the second.
Rutherford was released from the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on July 26, the day of the dismissals.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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