A judge dismissed rape charges Thursday against a man accused of repeatedly shooting a woman in Lions Park last week but bound him over to the grand jury on an attempted murder charge.
Eric L. Parker, 47, 140 Tucker Lane, had been charged with attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated rape and one count of especially aggravated robbery after the woman was found lying nearly nude in the east Johnson City park on Feb 14.
In a preliminary hearing at the Jaynes Justice Center in Jonesborough, the rape charges were dismissed Thursday due to lack of probable cause, but the charges could be re-established later in the case, authorities said.
Police said the 27-year-old woman had a belt around her neck and was wearing only a T-shirt and calf-high tennis shoes. The woman had been shot multiple times in her lower extremities and appeared to have a dislocated hip. A JCPD officer conducting extra patrol found the victim around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday in the area of 817 Country Club Court. She was rushed to Johnson City Medical Center where she stopped breathing at one point and had to be resuscitated during emergency surgery.
Police also found six Marakov brand ammunition shell casings and several empty 16-ounce Natural Ice beer cans at the scene.
Police also said the woman appeared to have been sexually assaulted because she was nearly nude and three used condoms were lying next to her.
Parker apparently quickly became a suspect in the investigation after officers identified the victim and talked to several witnesses. The victim was seen leaving Everette’s Grill and Saloon, 1121 N. Roan St., with Parker earlier in the evening in a 1998 silver four-door Cadillac, police said.
During the investigation, officers found that vehicle parked in front of an Englewood Boulevard residence and eventually saw Parker get into the car. Police approached him and saw what appeared to be a blood stain on his shirt, according to the complaint.
That’s when police saw the Natural Ice cans in the Cadillac, as well as a box of Marakov 9 mm bullets in the back seat.
After serving a warrant to search the car, police found the loaded 9 mm handgun with blood on it, the victim’s cell phone stuffed under the passenger seat and trace amounts of blood throughout the vehicle, according to the court records.
Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for updates on this developing story.