Man tried to limit ties to sex assaults

An Augusta man suspected of committing a series of increasingly violent sexual assaults knew about law enforcement techniques to gather forensic evidence and took precautions to cloak his identity, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Charles Anthony James, 32, faces charges including aggravated sodomy, kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated battery related to attacks on three women in May and June.

The women said their assailant had shaved his body hair. He used condoms and took all of the women's clothing and any items that might have yielded forensic evidence, according to the affidavit.

In each case, the women told detectives, a man in a pickup asked whether they wanted a ride. The first victim managed to get out of the truck and run for help, but the next two couldn't because the door handle and the lever controlling the window had been removed.

After the first attack, the assailant also started using a knife.

On May 21, two days after the first attack, a woman was found walking naked on Milledge Road. She told an investigator that her attacker drove to Goodrich Street Extension -- where the first woman was assaulted -- pulled a knife and sodomized her.

The third victim was driven to the rear of Quality Carriers on Mike Padgett Highway on June 18. The man sodomized her and cut her genitals, and she lost a great deal of blood and needed surgery, according to the search warrant.

The attack left officers a potential huge clue, however. They knew to look for a truck with a large blood stain on the seat, and a surveillance camera near the scene of the last attack captured an image of the Chevrolet S-10 they believed the attacker drove.

On June 20, Deputy Scott Herring saw a truck matching the description on Morgan Road. The driver's description matched that given by the three victims, and Investigator Sean Cochran saw dark red stains on the truck's bench seat, along with long strands of hair, according to the search warrant.

Officers took DNA samples from Mr. James and searched his home, where they found women's clothing in a trash can.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Charles Anthony James will stay in jail for now. A parole officer will determine what will happen with the rest of the 10-year sentence he was given in 2000 for robbery.