Peachtree City Ga. May 8 2017 Surveillance video showed a 16-year-old raping a woman at the Peachtree Mall several minutes after he allegedly kidnapped her from the Columbus Park Crossing, according to testimony Friday.
Jaquarius Ta’Ron Ellison, who was charged as an adult in the case, pleaded not guilty in Columbus Recorder’s Court to rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was ordered held without bond in the Regional Youth Detention Center.
Judge Julius Hunter bound the case over to Superior Court.
Detective Amanda Hogan said the Columbus Police Department’s Special Victims Unit received information on May 1 about an incident that occurred around 1:30 a.m. April 29.
A woman told police that she was sitting in her vehicle at the TGI Friday’s at Columbus Park Crossing when a young black man asked her for change for $5. When she told him she didn’t have it, he left.
He returned a few moments later and jumped in her car through the window, which was down at the time. He told her he had a weapon and forced her to drive him to the AMC Classic Peachtree 8 at 3131 Manchester Expressway.
“She does what he says out of fear,” Hogan told the court. “She drives him over to the Peachtree Mall. He basically directs her to go toward Carmike Cinemas, but tells her to stop in between JCPenney and Carmike.”
Officials said surveillance video from the Peachtree Mall showed the car stopping between the two buildings. They were there for 22 minutes, according to police.
“The victim was extremely terrified,” Hogan said. “She stated that she’s never been in this type of predicament, and that this male told her several times that he would kill her if she didn’t cooperate.”
She said the suspect asked her personal questions before telling her, “I want your car. Get out.” He opened the door, but she refused to give up her vehicle.
Police said they were arguing about it when he told her he wanted to have sex. She told him, “No.”
“He pulls the gun out, pushes it toward her and says, ‘You’re going to take your clothes off now,’ ” Hogan testified.
The suspect allegedly aimed the weapon at her and forced her to straddle him. Hogan said he raped the woman at gunpoint as mall security officers watched the incident on a surveillance camera.
“You can actually see the incident occur on video at the mall,” Hogan told the court. “Mall security guards were actually watching the incident, thinking that it was consensual and not thinking it was a crime occurring.”
The suspect saw a security guard drive toward them and told the woman to put her clothes on. He hid the weapon in the glove compartment and they both got dressed, according to police.
Hogan said the security guard told them, “You need to leave the area. You can’t be here all night.”
“The victim said she didn’t even have a chance to say anything, to ask for him or nothing,” the detective testified.
The gunman told her that she needed to drive away from the mall and she told him she needed gas. He demanded her to drive to the Chevron gas station on Armour Road, where he snatched $4 from her wallet before exiting the vehicle.
She immediately drove away from the gas station.
On May 1, Ellison was in custody on charges related to armed robberies that occurred outside of the Walgreens at 7869 Veterans Parkway and the Krystal restaurant at 5412 Veterans Parkway.
Police suspected Ellison, who is homeless, may have been the individual who attacked the woman based on the modus operandi he allegedly carried out in both incidents. Modus operandi is a distinct pattern or method of operation that indicates the work of a single criminal in more than one crimes.
Detectives showed the victim a photo lineup that included the teen’s photo. She identified Ellison as her attacker, and he was issued warrants for additional charges.