Local News

Orange County man charged with assaulting women in his home

Posted March 17, 2010 9:18 a.m. EDT
Updated March 17, 2010 6:42 p.m. EDT

— An Orange County man was arrested Tuesday after two women reported being attacked in a home near Chapel Hill.

Larry Johnson Edwards, 60, of 16 Alston Drive, was charged with two counts of second-degree sexual offense and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and first-degree kidnapping. He was being held Wednesday in the Orange County Jail under a $500,000 secured bond.

Investigators had information that narcotics and guns were in the home, Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass said. Within a week, two women also reported being assaulted inside the home, so deputies obtained a warrant to search the house, the sheriff said.

One woman was beaten with a crutch so badly that the crutch broke, and the second woman was beaten with a foot stool, Pendergrass said. Both women were sexually assaulted.

"Things went from just a casual visit to him assaulting them and committing these sex acts on them,” Pendergrass said, adding that investigators believe there could be more victims.

"They are a lot of times reluctant because they are frightened and they don’t want to say anything until after (a suspect is) taken into custody,” he said.

Investigators believe drugs were used to lure women to Edwards' home. Crack cocaine and other drugs were seized during a search of the house Tuesday, Pendergrass said.

Deputies also found a woman in the home during the search. She was later released.

During a brief court appearance Wednesday afternoon, Orange County Assistant District Attorney Michelle Williams said Edwards was on bond when the alleged assaults occurred. He was charged with attacking members of his family last year, she said.

Williams said described neighbors' fear of Edwards, calling him a "severe menace to the neighborhood."

Neighbors said they had called deputies in the past to report suspicious activity at Edwards' home, which is in a secluded area south of Chapel Hill. One neighbor hung a tarp outside his home to block his view of Edwards' home.

"They were very frightened of this man. He made a lot of statements, you know, trying to be real bad and a bully and so forth,” Pendergrass said.

Defense attorney Julian Mack questioned how Edwards could hold two women to attack them. Edwards had to be helped in and out of his chair in the courtroom.

Deputies said Edwards was moving without problem when they arrested him.

Pendergrass said more charges will likely be filed in the case.