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Courthouse Attack Leaves Some On Guard

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HILLSBOROUGH — Orange County commissioners voted Tuesday night to have deputies under Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass begin foot patrols of the courthouse during working hours, following a brutal attack Monday.

A Hillsborough police officer stood guard at the Orange County Courthouse crime scene Tuesday.

Courthouse workers say they are uneasy on the job after the recent attack.

"I don't feel safe at all," Melody Dees said. "There's not very much security around here. I think there should be deputies patrolling the hallway or officers, whatever they decided to put. And there should be metal detectors at the doors. It's just not a very safe place anymore."

No metal detectors mark the entrances to the building where suspect Rodney Jenkins appeared Tuesday. Jenkins is charged with kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to inflict serious injury.

Officers say a woman entered a downstairs bathroom Monday afternoon, and Jenkins went in behind her, locked the door, and attacked her.

The young woman, who works for a law firm, was raped and stabbed several times. Then the suspect slit her throat.

Some people who work at the courthouse say there was a lot of blood and that the woman appeared to be seriously injured when she left the courthouse.

Assistant District Attorney Arthur Yancey chased the suspect out of the courthouse and into the street.

Custodian Harvey Clark heard the scream and helped police run the suspect down.

"When I got close enough to him, that's when he would break under the shirt like he had something in there," Clark said. "I didn't really want to force myself on him, so I just stayed off, because he just kept saying 'you're next. I'll shoot you. I'll shoot you. You're next.'"

After more than five hours of intense questioning, police charged the 22-year-old Jenkins. ,Mark Roberts,Ed Wilson,Julie Moos

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Todd Hauer, Reporter
Chad Flowers, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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