A man charged with hitting one woman and raping another is expected to plead guilty later this month to beating and kidnapping a third woman.
James Leon Works will appear Aug. 21 in Hamilton County Criminal Court to announce a plea agreement, his public defender, Coty Wamp, said Monday. Works, 44, faces two counts of kidnapping, two counts of domestic assault and one count of aggravated rape, a Class A felony that carries a range of 15-60 years in state prison, in connection with a December 2016 incident.
While best known for an arrest that triggered an investigation into a Chattanooga police detective, Works began picking up charges in Georgia in 2013. He grabbed a woman's arms and pushed her and hit her while at a Rossville home, according to an indictment filed in Catoosa County. In addition to false imprisonment, battery and two counts of simple battery, Works was charged with two counts of cruelty to children for allegedly dragging a boy and whipping him with a belt during the same incident.
Catoosa County clerks said Monday that case still is pending: Works' case goes back on the jury trial calendar in September, and if he doesn't make it, then his case gets bumped to March.
Works was charged again in 2014 after a woman said he kept her in a motel room in Hamilton County after a couple of dates. The woman, who is not identified here under Times Free Press policy, said Works punched, kicked, stomped and raped her before he fell asleep and she broke free. Works, however, pleaded guilty only to methamphetamine possession in that case because a special prosecutor said the woman's reliability would have been questioned at trial.
In retrospect, that prosecutor ended up being right.
The woman said former Chattanooga Police Department Detective Karl Fields tried to have sex with her while he was investigating the 2014 case (Fields was then fired and charged in 2016 with official misconduct and tampering with evidence).
But at his trial in March, Fields' defense attorneys said the woman was a drug addict who deleted certain text messages to Fields and wrote friendly letters to Works while he was in custody. While sympathetic to the woman, Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman said the state hadn't proved its case and dismissed both charges before jurors began deliberations.
Though it didn't come up at trial, Fort Oglethorpe police also arrested Works in January 2016, again on a rape charge with the same woman. Those charges are also pending.
In April 2016, Lookout Mountain Superior Court Judge Ralph Van Pelt Jr. denied Works' request for bond on that charge. But three months later, a different judge allowed Works to leave jail on his own recognizance, thinking the prosecution was ready for trial.
Works allegedly commited another crime in the short window that followed.
A third accuser said Works threatened to kill her in a hotel on Dec. 23, 2016, and smacked her in the face and grabbed her throat until the manager kicked them out and threatened to call the police. From there, she said, Works drove to Camp Jordan in East Ridge, where the abuse continued. She eventually made it to a hospital and spoke with police the next day.
Works remains in the Hamilton County Jail on a $100,000 bond, records show.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Fol low him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.