ST. GEORGE, Utah (KTVX) — Authorities in southern Utah arrested a man on Wednesday who is accused of attacking and threatening to kill a woman to prevent her from testifying against him in a criminal case.
Officers with the St. George Police Department say they were called to a gas station Monday on a reported assault. A battered woman had asked the clerks for help, saying the man she was with, 36-year-old Joshua Folland, had tried to kill her, police said.
Officers said the woman was “very upset, visibly shaking, and dressed only in a white towel,” police wrote in charging documents.
The woman told authorities she was staying at a Days Inn hotel across the street with Folland. The two had allegedly gone to a bar, where a verbal altercation ensued, prompting her to chase after him as he ran back to their hotel room, the documents say.
When she went inside the room, he assaulted her with his fists, duct-taped her wrists together and her mouth shut when she tried to yell for help, she told officers.
“She told me that she was on the ground and Joseph pulled out a knife with a long blade,” an officer said. “She told me that Joseph held the knife to her throat and told her he was going to kill her.”
The woman told police she was expected to testify against Folland next week in a case in which he faces 20 years in prison on charges of kidnapping and assault.
“She told me that he yelled, ‘I’m gonna kill you so you can’t testify next week,'” the officer said.
The woman told authorities she lost consciousness and woke up to him dragging her to the bathroom, where he allegedly forced her into the bathtub and attempted to drown her. He then dragged her out of the bathroom, throwing her into the wall, police said.
Officers said she was able to flee after telling the suspect she needed to use the bathroom.
She told officers she grabbed a towel, escaped the room and was able to get the tape off of her wrists and mouth before running towards the gas station.
St. George police officer Tiffany Atkin said that Folland fled the hotel, wearing only shorts, but no shirt or shoes, and possibly carrying his wallet.
Folland was found at a gas station and taken into custody Wednesday.
He is now facing several felony charges, including aggravated assault, witness tampering and false information to a police officer. He is a convicted felon and not allowed to have any weapons, so he also faces a third-degree felony charge of possession of a weapon by a restricted person.