3 held, 5 sought in brutal Tempe assault - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

3 held, 5 sought in brutal Tempe assault

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Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 12:34 pm | Updated: 1:43 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Up to eight people — including a woman — may have been involved in tying up, beating and raping an 18-year-old woman for three days in a Tempe home, police said Monday.

Three people are in custody in connection with the assault, and police are looking for possibly five others, said police Sgt. Dan Masters.

Masters said the victim was drugged and could not defend herself during assaults that may have lasted for "hours on end."

"I’m sure it was a living hell," Masters said. "Just the graphic brutality. It’s disturbing."

The woman was released Monday from the hospital after being treated for two black eyes and cuts and bruises all over her body, and is believed to be headed home to the East Coast with her mother, Masters said.

Police announced Saturday the arrests of Billy Watson, 21, and his brother Keoni Watson, 17, in connection with the rape.

On Monday, police announced the arrest of Rita Anthony, 25, in a Phoenix apartment in connection with the crime, and that the younger Watson will be tried as an adult.

All are being held without bond at Maricopa County’s Madison Street Jail in Phoenix on suspicion of kidnapping, sexual assault and aggravated assault, according to Masters and jail records.

Anthony appeared in a booking photograph with a cut on her lip that police can’t explain, but there is nothing to suggest she was forced into going along with the crime, Masters said.

Anthony, who is believed to be a girlfriend of William Watson’s, also sexually and physically assaulted the woman, Masters said.

The victim was in town from out-of-state visiting friends. On Sunday, she met an unknown man and went with him to the house at 1129 S. Stratton Lane, where Watson had been living for several months, Masters said.

The man — a friend of William Watson’s and Anthony’s — left the home, but the victim stayed.

Over the next three days, she was raped and beaten — possibly with belts or cords, Masters said.

"The first officers thought she was dead," Masters said.

The woman was rescued when another man, who police are not naming, went to the house and saw her there.

Thinking the woman was dead, the rescuer took her away while nobody else was there, Masters said.

"He had an opportunity to get her out," Masters said, adding there is no reason to suspect the rescuer was also involved in the crime.

Several detectives worked 30 hours on the case and tracked down and arrested William Watson after following him from an apartment in the 5200 block of East Thomas Road, Phoenix.

Anthony was found in the same apartment, Masters said.

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