Man charged with aggravated assault after boiling bleach poured on woman, neighbor attacked with hammer

Johnny Dortch
photo Johnny Dortch

A man has been charged with aggravated domestic assault after allegedly waking a man and a woman by pouring boiling bleach on them and attacking the man with a hammer.

Chattanooga police were called to an apartment in the 2300 block of Wilson Street on the morning of Sunday, May 5. When they arrived, they found the woman wearing a bathrobe, according to Hamilton County court records. She told them Johnny Dewayne Dortch, whom she knew, woke her and her male neighbor up by pouring boiling bleach on them and then hitting the neighbor with a hammer.

Dortch had been living with the woman for the past few weeks but was not in the house before the assault - he got in with one of her house keys, police were told.

Police noted the woman had visible burns on her head, face, neck, shoulders and back. And the neighbor had lacerations on his head, a burn on his left hand and abrasions on his right hand.

While they waited on an ambulance, police told the woman to sit in a patrol vehicle, but because her burn injuries were so painful, she asked if she could wait without clothing.

In the meantime, police spoke to the neighbor, who echoed what the woman said: that Dortch poured boiling bleach on both of them and then beat him with a hammer.

He told police he didn't fight back and just kept telling Dortch, "Let's just talk," court records show.

In the end, the neighbor told police he didn't want to press charges because he "understood why Mr. Dortch was angry."

After the woman arrived at the hospital, medical staff told police her "throat was closing up" and that they were just trying to stabilize her long enough to transfer her to the Vanderbilt Burn Center in Nashville.

The woman's current condition is not known.

Dortch was arrested in Catoosa County, Georgia, on Friday and extradited to the Hamilton County Jail on Monday.

He was charged with aggravated domestic assault and his bond set at $50,000, online jail records show.

Dortch has an extensive arrest record between 2001 and 2009 in Hamilton County, online court records show, including five assault charges.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.