Neighbors speak out about violent sexual assault at abandoned house

Neighbors speak out about violent sexual assault at abandoned house
Posted at 9:31 PM, Jul 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 17:53:28-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A terrifying chain of events has folks in a Tallahassee neighborhood speaking out.

A man is accused of forcing a woman into an abandoned house and raping her Sunday night. 55-year-old Earl Thomas has been arrested in connection to the crime.

New details from court documents show it happened at a house on West Brevard Street and neighbors tell us they're not surprised this kind of crime happened there.

"Other crimes that happen in this area, too," said Foriest McNeil. McNeil says for about a year now, she's lived near that abandoned house.

"I walk all the time, so my first impression was, 'Okay, should I walk or should I not walk?'," says McNeil.

According to court documents, a woman was walking to a nearby convenience store when Thomas came up to her, grabbed her by the hair, and held a hammer up to her neck. Thomas then forced the woman into an abandoned house through a screen door, where he's accused of sexually assaulting her multiple times.

"It's something that's a hard pill to swallow but you live in this area and you're out walking around this area so you hope that it happen again," said McNeil.

McNeil says despite the crime, she'll keep walking and hoping for a better future for her neighborhood.

"I'm gonna stay here, I'm not going to let them run me off, because I like my home," said McNeil. "I pray and hope that the city will clean the area up and make it a better place to live."

Thomas is now facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, and six counts of sexual assault. He is currently in jail on a $25,000 bond.