Midway man accused of choking, raping woman

July 21, 2017
Justin Joseph Richards

A Midway man was arrested early Friday by McDonald police on a warrant accusing him of choking and raping a 25-year-old woman at his home earlier this month.

Justin Joseph Richards, 25, of 219 Stevenson St., was arraigned before District Judge Traci McDonald on charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, strangulation and simple assault.

The alleged victim came to the borough police department July 4 to report the sexual assault had occurred earlier in the day. She told police Richards, whom she identified as a friend, invited her to his home. She said he was intoxicated when she arrived.

According to police, the 25-year-old woman and Richards went to a bedroom in the basement to have consensual sex, but later she told him to stop.

She told police that she rolled over toward a television while he moved to the corner of the bed, but that he then forced himself on her.

Richards allegedly grabbed her by her necklace and pulled it tight around her throat. He also allegedly placed his hands around her throat and choked her to the point she could not breathe, police stated in court documents.

The 25-year-old woman showed police bruises around her throat and on her leg, as well as hemorrhages on her face and eyes. She told police that at one point during the assault, she bit one of Richards’ fingers to try to stop him. He allegedly punched her in the back of the head several times.

Richards was placed in Washington County jail on $100,000 bond. He is scheduled for an Aug. 10 preliminary hearing before District Judge Gary Havelka.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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