Two men arrested in Waynesville on first degree forcible rape charges

By Kyle Perrotti | Oct 13, 2016

Officers with the Waynesville Police Department arrested two men early Wednesday morning and charged them with first-degree forcible rape.

Jimmy Christopher, 52, and John Strickland, 45, both of Waynesville, are suspected of committing the crime late Tuesday night. Strickland remains in jail and Christopher is in the hospital for injuries unrelated to the crime.

Sgt. Tamara Vander Day is the detective working the case. She said it is important that residents understand this was not a random attack.

“The victim was known to the suspects, and they’re all part of the same homeless community,” she said.

“This type of assault is rare,” she added. “It’s the first time I’ve worked something like this in my 20 years here.”

Vander Day said her department deals with these individuals on a regular basis, often for alcohol-related charges, but never anything as serious as this.

The incident occurred when the suspects found themselves alone with the 53-year-old victim and attacked her. Although Vander Day called the attack brutal, she said she can’t discuss the extent of the victim’s injuries.

A search warrant will be issued to obtain a DNA comparison, and Vander Day is scheduled to meet with the district attorney to determine when the suspects will appear before the grand jury. It is possible more charges will come at that point, but Vander Day did not say what additional charges, if any, could be filed.

Vander Day said this case is interesting because the statute itself is usually limited to incidents that involve children or times when a weapon is present, but because there were two people involved, the more severe charge was filed.

Bond is set at $100,000 for both of the men.