A $100,000 cash-only bond was set Monday for a Pine Bluff man accused of kidnapping a woman, raping her and trying to kill her.
Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney set the bond after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge Norris Howard, 57, with kidnapping, rape and criminal attempt capital murder.
Howard, who has multiple prior convictions dating back to 1983, told Jefferson County sheriff’s investigators he had dealt with “lots of white females” but was not with the alleged victim on May 30 and denied knowing her.
According to a probable cause affidavit from Sheriff’s Investigator Camesha Marks, the 24-year-old victim was found on May 30 near Highway 31 with multiple stab wounds to the neck and shoulders. She told deputies she had left the Salvation Army and was walking to a donut shop when she was offered a ride by a man who said he wanted her to meet his wife.
Instead, she said she was taken to a recreational vehicle parked next to a trailer, where her hands were tied, her eyes were covered with duct tape and she was raped. Afterward, she said the man drove her to a church then cut her with a knife. She said she was able to walk to the location where she was found.
Marks reported that St. Mary’s Catholic Church, located on St. Mary’s Catholic Church Road, is about a mile east of Highway 31, and investigators found multiple trails of a reddish-brown substance believed to be blood on the ground and church walls.
On June 6, Marks and Sheriff’s Investigator Lt. John Bean drove the victim around to see if she could locate the recreational vehicle; when they reached a trailer park on U.S. 65 south, she identified the vehicle, which was attached to a trailer. The trailer space was rented to Howard.
Marks reported that investigators checked with the Pine Bluff Police Department and determined that Howard is listed as a Level 4 sex offender and listed his address as the trailer park. The alleged victim also identified Howard as her attacker after picking him out of a six-person photo lineup.
Howard was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim until the case is settled. The Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Howard.