Affidavit: Rape victim fought off attacker with coffee pot, cut herself free

Rain Smith • Aug 26, 2010 at 12:29 PM

An affidavit filed in Sullivan County court provides a detailed and disturbing account of an alleged rape and kidnapping that occurred Sunday night.

The victims says she awakened within a camper on Highway 421 with ropes around her neck, arms and ankles. The alleged attacker boasted he would make her bleed and held her like a dog on leash, but she eventually managed to hit him in the head with a coffee pot and negotiate her release.

She promised not to alert authorities, according to the affidavit, then was allowed to cut herself free with a knife on the floor.

Johnny Royston, 60, of 6143 Highway 421, Bristol, Tenn., was arrested Tuesday night. He has been charged aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping and attempted first-degree murder. He is held in the Sullivan County jail without bond.

In 2000 Royston pleaded no-contest to voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of a girlfriend. He allegedly set her body on fire days after she died, and was released from prison in February of 2009.

According to court records, the most recent incident began at about 7:30 Sunday evening. The victim, 35, reports having a few beers and a mixed drink with the resident of a home that neighbors Royston's. Royston and a third man were working on a water line that runs to that house.

When the men finished working, the resident asked them if they'd like to go to O'Mainnin's Pub and Grill on State Street in Bristol. According to the affidavit, Royston was the designated driver, while the man that was helping Royston on the water line did not go to the bar.

The victim says Royston drank a coke, while her and the other man ordered a beer. They listened to music, then all left together to get food at an Exit 7 restaurant. The affidavit says the woman was "so sleepy" that she didn't accompany the men inside, falling asleep in the vehicle's backseat.

After eating, Royston drove the trio back to the home on Highway 421. The resident went inside his house, while Royston allegedly drove the woman to a camper he was renting on the property.

"(The victim) stated that she didn't remember going into the trailer, but she woke up inside the camper face down on the floor with yellow rope tied around her neck," reads the affidavit. "Her arms and ankles were bound with a white rope."

The woman told police she called Royston, "sick," demanded to be freed and said that she would kill him. That's when Royston allegedly put his hand over her mouth and nose, preventing her from breathing.

"He said to her you are going to shut up and lay there and be still," reads the affidavit.

The woman said she shook her head "yes." He allegedly let go of her nose and mouth, then raped her.

The victim reported telling Royston she needed to use the bathroom. He allegedly wouldn't let her up, threatening to penetrate her, "until you bleed."

Royston again covered her mouth and nose, according to court records, preventing the woman from breathing. She reports being "scared to death" and continually crying.

Royston eventually allowed the woman up to go the bathroom. When she asked for water and a rag, Royston continued to keep the rope around her, "like you would a dog," but fetched a coffee pot and dish towel.

The affidavit says when the victim observed Royston look away, she, "busted him in the head with the pot." Royston allegedly fell to the floor with the rope still in hand, pulling the victim on top of him.

The woman reports trying to get up, but Royston grabbed her around the throat and choked her. She then began hitting him in the stomach with the coffee pot's handle.

According to the affidavit, Royston let her loose when she promised to not tell anyone, "knowing that was the only way she would get free." She then found a knife laying on the floor, cut the ropes from her ankles and hands, and fled to the neighboring home.

Police say that when they interviewed the woman she had busted blood vessels in her eyes from being strangled, along with bruises on her body.

Royston is currently scheduled for a Bristol court appearance on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

On Nov. 15 of 1998, Royston was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and arson in the death of Debbie Kay Hyatt, 20.

Three days prior firefighters had responded to Royston's trailer, 267 Old Cardon Hollow Road. Sheriff Wayne Anderson said doors to the structure were padlocked from the outside. It wasn't until firefighters extinguished the flames that Hyatt's body was found in a back bedroom.

Hyatt, Royston's girlfriend, was said to have died of, "multiple stab wounds to the head and neck area." She had to be identified through dental records.

In May of 2000 Royston pleaded no-contest to voluntary manslaughter and arson. He was released in February of 2009, when his sentence expired.

A Tennessee Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Royston was currently under no form of supervision from the state.

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