Grand jury reinstates dismissed rape charges

Becky Campbell • May 3, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Rape charges dismissed in Washington County Sessions Court against a Johnson City man accused of assaulting and severely beating a woman in February were reinstated by a grand jury this week.

Eric L. Parker, 47, 140 Tucker Lane, was arrested in the case and originally charged with attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated rape and one count of especially aggravated robbery.

At the preliminary hearing, Sessions Court Judge James Nidiffer dismissed the rape and robbery charges because he said the state had not presented probable cause Parker committed those offenses.

This week, however, the grand jury reinstated the three counts of rape along with also returning an indictment for attempted murder.

The attempted murder charge was bound over to a grand jury in February.

Johnson City Police Department Patrolman Aubrey McElroy found the victim lying in the Lions Park parking lot in the early morning hours of Feb. 14.

McElroy testified at the preliminary hearing that the woman was almost nude, appeared to have been beaten, had several bullet wounds and had a black leather belt around her neck. The woman was alive, but could barely speak because her face was so swollen, he said.

Other indictments returned by the grand jury included:

- Benjamin Schon Neis-Eldridge, 18, 304 Shenandoah Drive, on charges of carrying a weapon on school property and simple possession of a controlled substance.

According to court documents and police, Neis-Eldridge had a loaded .22-caliber handgun in the pocket of a trench coat he wore to school at Science Hill High School on Nov. 29.

School officials became suspicious of the teen when he wore the coat all buttoned up. When police searched the coat they also found 5.7 grams of a substance believed to be marijuana.

- Eric S. Sayers, on charges of attempted first-degree murder and possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

Sayers, 31, 1306 E. Myrtle St., was arrested after an incident Feb. 28 in Johnson City. A woman told police Sayers shot at her car while she was parked on Whitney Street around 4 p.m.

Sayers denied the incident, but reports indicate there were bullet holes in the car and Sayers was seen by other witnesses running from a car that matched the description of the vehicle the victim saw.

Officers also found a revolver hidden behind a house near where Sayers was reported to have hidden.

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