Man pleads guilty to attempted kidnapping, rape of woman at Rose Rudman Park in 2019

TYLER, Texas (KETK) — A man accused of attempting to kidnap and rape a woman running at the Rose Rudman Park in 2019 pleaded guilty on Monday.

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According to an arrest warrant, a woman finished running at Rose Rudman Park when she saw the suspect, James Earl Roberts Jr., and thought he looked suspicious and began to run again. She heard him running behind her when Roberts reportedly tackled her, put his hands over her face and dragged her into the woods, officials said.

<em>Mugshot of James Earl Roberts Jr. Courtesy of Smith County Jail.</em>
Mugshot of James Earl Roberts Jr. Courtesy of Smith County Jail.

Roberts allegedly told her multiple times “I have a knife” and “Shut the f*** up.” Police said Roberts pulled a knife from behind the victim and cut her throat numerous times. Documents also stated Roberts punched the victim multiple times when she fought back.

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Roberts then allegedly “began trying to pull her pants… down. [The victim] said she kept wiggling and moving as much as she could to stop it.”

The victim was able to wrestle the knife away from Roberts and threw it aside. Roberts “suddenly got up and took off running.” She then reportedly crawled out of the woods and another woman came to her aid.

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Police were able to identify Roberts based on a fingerprint left on the victim’s phone.

Roberts pleaded guilty on Monday to aggravated kidnapping and sexual abuse in the 241st District Court. His sentencing date has been set for May 31.

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