Witnesses Say 69-Year-Old Jogger And Alleged Rapist Were Both Bruised Up After 2014 Encounter

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Witnesses said a 69-year-old jogger and his alleged teen attacker were both bruised up during their 2014 encounter in North Chattanooga.

Diontae Smartt, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, is standing trial for aggravated rape in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole. He is free on bond.

The male jogger took the witness stand at the start of the trial, saying he was attacked and sexually assaulted on West Mississippi Avenue near Normal Park School. It happened in the early morning of Sept. 29, 2014.

A triage nurse at Parkridge Hospital's emergency room said the man arrived at 7:27 a.m. and signed in as being a victim of sexual assault. She said the Rape Crisis Center was summoned.

She said she could readily see that he had an abrasion on his head.

A nurse from the Rape Crisis Center said the man had multiple lacerations and abrasions on both sides of his body as well as his head and back. She said some of his injuries were consistent with a forcible sexual assault.

Sgt. Joe Montijo, who is over the crime scene technicians, said he went to the hospital and found "an elderly male who clearly had been in some sort of altercation." He said there was a large laceration in the back of his head with some bleeding.

He said there were scraps of dirt and grass in his hair and his T-shirt "was incredibly soiled."

The witness said he went to 1131 West Mississippi Ave. - just down from where the jogger thought it happened - and was able to find the crime scene. He said there were two red stains on some concrete steps. He also found a white button. He said the site was "kind of secluded" with a patch of woods nearby. 

When Smartt was arrested two days later, Sgt. Montijo also checked him out, finding a number of bruises on him. One was on the bridge of his nose. He had a cut on his upper arm and abrasions on his knees and elbows.

At Smartt's home on Federal Street, he found a ripped white T-shirt that was stuffed behind a bed head board. He also found a pair of shorts that were missing the top button.

A pair of brass knuckles was found on Smartt, it was stated.

Former Detective Lucas Fuller said the initial suspect was a young black male known to panhandle in North Chattanooga. The jogger did not pick him out of a lineup. He then focused on a young black male said to hang around Miller Park. The jogger saw him in the lineup and said he was 85 percent sure it was him, though he said he looked older than the assailant.

Officer Fuller (he said he recently requested to go back to patrol) said it was decided to ask for the public's help with the case. He said a tip was received that the perpetrator might be Smartt. He said he looked up Smartt's Facebook page and saw that he matched the description of the suspect. He said one of the Facebook photos was taken near Normal Park School.

He found that Smartt was attending Red Bank High School and that he had reported late (9:30 a.m.) on the morning of the incident. 

 



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