By Jason A. Smith
A McDonough man is suspected of raping a female friend, while she was reportedly passed out from drinking alcohol, after taking pain medication.
Thomas Edward Westerfield, 47, was apprehended by the Henry County Sheriff's Office Monday, according to records from the Henry County Jail. He appeared in Magistrate Court Tuesday, represented by the Public Defender's Office.
Westerfield is charged with one count of rape. He requested a probable-cause hearing in the case Tuesday, before Judge Robert Godwin.
The case centers on an incident, which allegedly occurred at Westerfield's home, either late on Nov. 1, or in the early morning hours of Nov. 2, according to Henry County Police Detective Heather Hopkins. During the hearing, Hopkins said the victim was at the residence with the suspect, and his nephew, Joshua Wright.
"She said she's been there several times before," said the detective. "She was friends with both men."
Hopkins said the three were drinking Four Loco beers, which the detective described as a "very concentrated" brand of alcohol. "One can of beer is the equivalent of four Jager shots," the detective explained.
Hopkins added that the victim was also given, allegedly by Westerfield, a Lortab pill earlier in the night for pain. Shortly afterward, the victim passed out, according to Hopkins.
"The last thing the victim remembers is sitting on the floor, watching a movie," said the detective. "Mr. Westerfield was sitting at her side. Mr. Wright was sitting across the room. The next thing she remembers, she wakes up, she's in Mr. Westerfield's bedroom, laying on the bed. She's naked, [and] Mr. Westerfield is ... penetrating her ..."
Detective Hopkins said Wright told police that he also had sex with the victim, simultaneously with Westerfield. The detective explained from the stand that police interviewed Wright, and it was he who provided information regarding the alleged assault.
The alleged rape victim, said the detective, has no recollection of having sex with Westerfield or Wright.
Detective Hopkins testified that the victim told police she only woke up, because Wright was "gagging" her. Police said Wright placed a finger in her mouth in an attempt to revive her.
"He stopped as soon as she woke up and said, 'What's going on?'" said Hopkins. "I believe her exact words were, 'What are you doing here?'"
When Wright was questioned by police about the woman's gagging claim, he reportedly said the victim had been incoherent, and was not moving or talking, according to Hopkins.
"It alarms him, he starts slapping her in the face [but] it doesn't wake her up," said Hopkins. "He sticks his finger down her throat to gag her, and that's what wakes her up."
Hopkins said the woman, who acknowledged having sex with Westerfield prior to the incident, did not say Westerfield, or Wright had been violent with her. The victim immediately asked to be taken home, around 3 a.m., continued Hopkins.
"She makes it to a hospital around noon, and that's when we were dispatched to her," said the detective.
Hopkins said a "rape kit" exam was conducted by investigators working the case, but results from those tests were not available Tuesday.
Doug Smith, with the Public Defender's Office, represented Westerfield during the hearing. Smith left the issue of probable cause, "to the court's discretion."
"It'll be interesting to see how it comes out in the grand jury," Smith told Judge Godwin. "I'm sure there will be a lot more investigation between now and then."
Godwin bound the case over to Superior Court. Smith quickly requested that the judge set a bond for Westerfield. The judge set bond at $10,000, and ordered Westerfield to have no contact with the alleged victim.
"I set what I thought was a reasonable bond, based on the facts of the case," Godwin said.
A future hearing date in the case had not been set on Tuesday.