COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - It was a brutal rape in the middle of the day in a Carver Heights apartment complex filled with people- and it all started with a ride home.
A 17-year-old girl says she was waiting for someone to pick her up from school on Friday (May 6, 2011) at Tillinghurst, an adult education center off of Buena Vista Road, when a man she recognized, her cousin's ex-boyfriend, pulled up in a carpet cleaning truck and offered to take her home.
According to Columbus Police, the man behind the wheel of the van was 25-year-old Darrell Lockhart.
Not thinking he'd ever hurt her, the teen decided to take him up on his offer and allowed Lockhart to drive her to her apartment complex nearby in Decatur Court.
The victim says her attacker used his carpet cleaning truck to his advantage, saying he could give her an estimate for his work if he could come inside and look at her carpets. She soon realized his business offer was just a ploy to get them alone behind closed doors.
"He came in and looked at my carpet and I went into the kitchen to look for a broom. He came up behind me and tried to throw me on the counter and that's when he went to choking me and I passed out on the floor," she said in an interview at her apartment Monday. WTVM is not revealing her identity.
When he was choking her, she says Lockhart had her in a choke hold and then wrapped both of his hands around her neck, lifting her off the floor until everything went black.
When she came to, the teen says Lockhart was taking off her pants and told her not to move, saying he'd punch her in the face if she did. Then, he raped her.
"At that point, I thought I was going to die because there wasn't anyone there to help me. My music was up loud and he turned it up louder so no one could hear me," she added.
When he left, the teenager ran to a neighbor's house for help and they called police. Detectives caught up with Lockhart Monday night and arrested him.
Columbus Police say another local rape case from last month was very similar to this one- similar circumstances and a similar suspect description. They showed a picture of a suspect in that case to the latest victim. She said it was the same man that cornered her in her home and raped her, a man she identified as Lockhart.
Detectives are releasing very few details about the other rape case from last month at this point.
Meanwhile, Darrell Lockhart is charged with Rape, False Imprisonment, Forgery and Aggravated Assault.
He's scheduled to appear in Columbus Recorders Court on his charges Thursday morning. He is being held in the Muscogee County Jail.