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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Man sexually assaulted woman, threatened to hold her for a week, charges say

By Pat Reavy, Deseret News | Posted - Feb. 24, 2021 at 5:13 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — A man was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting a woman in the van he was living in while telling her he could hold her hostage for a week and no one would find her.

Johnnie David Murray, 57, is charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and two counts of forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies; obstructing justice, a second-degree felony; possessing of a weapon by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.

On Feb. 12 about midnight, a woman walking home was approached by Murray who first offered her drugs, then wanted her to hang out in his van with him because his wife had passed away and he was lonely, according to charging documents.

The woman later told police that the van "was dirty and gross inside, the windows were blacked out," it had tarps attached to it with a bed and microwave inside, the charges state. Police believe Murray was living in the van.

Murray offered the woman drugs but she refused. That's when Murray became angry and gave her $50, according to the charges.

"I gave you money, now you have to do what I tell you," Murray allegedly told her. "Just be a good girl and do what I say."

Murray then told the woman that he could "keep her in the van for a week and tie her up to his bed and that the van was soundproof so no one outside would hear her screaming," the charges state.

The woman said she couldn't get out of the van because the door handle was broken. Murray threatened to inject the woman with drugs if she didn't take some with him, according to the charges.

The charges accuse Murray of sexually assaulting the woman and threatening her with a knife. After he fell asleep, the woman figured out how to get the door open and left. He was arrested after police collected DNA samples, which Murray resisted, forcing officers to restrain him while a sample was collected, the charges state.

A police affidavit filed after his arrest indicates that Murray "is currently being investigated for three other separate sexual assault investigations."

He has an extensive criminal history, according to court records, including numerous arrests and convictions for theft and drug-related crimes, and was on felony probation at the time of his latest arrest.

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Pat Reavy

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