published Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Chattanooga police recount bloody scene; bond doubled in brutal rape case

  • photo
    Willie Bradley, right, charged with aggravated rape, appears before Judge Lila Statom with his defense attorney John Wysong (left) on Tuesday. Bradley's case was bound over to the grand jury.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A Chattanooga police officer testified in court Tuesday that a vacant house, reported to be the scene of a brutal assault and rape, was covered in blood.

"It was awful -- blood spray everywhere. It was terrible," Officer Andrew Peker said.

Peker investigated when a 24-year-old Chattanooga woman said Willie James Bradley, 53, beat and raped her in the house at 2012 Milne St. late June 24 and into the morning of June 25.

It was Bradley's first court appearance in the case. He is charged with aggravated rape and false imprisonment.

The woman, whose name has been withheld in accordance with Times Free Press policy on victims of sex crimes, said she and a friend, Wesley Campbell, were driving around looking for crack cocaine when they stopped at the Kanku's gas station at 3440 Wilcox Blvd. sometime after 10 p.m.

They picked up Bradley, who said he could help them find more crack. The trio went to a drug dealer, bought and smoked more crack and then drove around some more until the woman needed to use the bathroom.

They were near Milne Street. Bradley said he had a sister who lived nearby, and he walked the woman to the vacant house.

That's where she got scared, the woman said. She tried to leave, but said Bradley pulled her back in and grabbed her mobile phone. The pair struggled over the phone and Bradley began to beat her.

He forced her into sex, beating her when she resisted, she said.

"The more I said no the more he beat me," the victim told prosecutor Lance Pope.

She testified that at one point during the assault, she wiped away what she thought was sweat. She later learned it was blood pouring from her scalp.

Throughout the Tuesday hearing Bradley refused to face the woman, turning his back or to the side, looking away from the proceedings, at times shaking his head in negation.

As the woman described hitting and trying to stab Bradley in the throat with her glass crack pipe, he began rubbing his throat.

Bradley's attorney, John Wysong, asked how long the attack lasted, the woman said it "felt like years" but later estimated up to four hours.

Peker testified that Bradley told him four people smoked crack in the house that night. He explained the blood by saying he had fought with Campbell and the other man until they left.

He said he was alone with the victim, but denied raping her.

Bradley's criminal record includes guilty please to two counts of aggravated sexual battery, originally charged as aggravated rape, in 1999. He is a registered sex offender who has been charged over time with attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping, carjacking, aggravated burglary and robbery

Because of that history and testimony at the hearing, General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom doubled Bradley's bond from $600,000 to $1.2 million.

"Clearly Mr. Bradley is a danger to anyone in this community," she said.

Bradley shook his head as he was escorted out of court and back to jail.

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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