LIBERTY, S.C. (WNCN) – A man raped and choked an 89-year-old woman until she was unconscious after breaking into her South Carolina home then returned with a knife and killed her, authorities said.
Thomas James Chapman, 21, is charged with murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and five other crimes, Liberty Police Chief Adam Gilstrap said.
Chapman went to Margaret Alice Karr’s home less than a half-mile (1 kilometer) from his Liberty house on Saturday and climbed in through a back window, authorities said.
Chapman stole a small amount of cash then attacked Karr in her bedroom, raping and choking her until she was unconscious, Gilstrap said. Chapman then came back with a knife and slit the woman’s throat, the police chief said.
Investigators determined Chapman was a suspect as they interviewed people in the neighborhood a second time. When he was brought to the police station, he confessed, according to arrest warrants.
Chapman had no lawyer at his Tuesday bond hearing and said little. He appeared to begin crying uncontrollably when signing court paperwork.
Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark said Karr supported him throughout his career and was known around Liberty as a wonderful woman.
“She was a great Christian lady and she showed it every day,” Clark said in a statement to reporters Tuesday.
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