One of three victims allegedly held hostage inside a drug house on Cherry Springs Road revealed she was not only subjected to torture but she was also raped by one of her captors.
“I’m not emotionally ready to talk about it,” the woman declared from the witness stand on Thursday when asked about the alleged rape.
She was testifying in the aggravated kidnapping cases against Ashley Dawn Golden, Stephanie Vanatta, Jeffery Scott Pegg and the homeowner, Zachery Turner. All were bound to the grand jury on the felony charge with the exception of Vanatta, who had her case dismissed by General Sessions Judge Bill Locke who said he found no evidence she played a role in holding the victims captive.
Investigators say three people, two men and one woman, were held against their will at Turner’s residence on Cherry Springs Road in the Bratcher’s Crossroads area. It’s the same reputed drug house where Michael Cody Mills allegedly gunned down Bobby Ashburn earlier this year.
The female victim testified she had traveled to the residence with friends from Lebanon and was told she could not leave once they arrived because Turner said there was meth missing from his house.
“He said he needed the money or the meth,” she recalled, noting she and the other hostages were forced to make calls to try to get the money. In her case, she was told to call her father and tell him a lie, advising she needed $2,000 for an abortion.
She said she was also subject to a strip search and body cavity search administered by one of her captors, looking for where the drugs may have been hidden. She noted she had not met any of the people who held her hostage until that evening.
Unable to find the drugs, the woman said the captors began beating one of the male hostages, kicking him in the head and cutting the back of his neck with a knife. She believes he was targeted be-cause he is black.
“They said the N-word a lot,” she recalled of the savage beating she witnessed, noting she tried to intervene. “They told me to look away.”
After the beating, the woman said they were made to tie their feet together and then lash themselves to the back of a truck. A person then got behind the wheel and began pulling forward, dragging the three hostages behind.
“Please don’t drag me!” she screamed, noting she could feel the ground ripping at her body as they were pulled behind the truck.
During cross-examination, the woman defended not being able to leave. “There were guns everywhere,” she said, pointing out Turner walked around with a shotgun and he had a surveillance system from which he could watch numerous angles around the residence.
She noted it was Turner who allegedly pulled her into a bedroom at some point during her two days held hostage and forced her to have sex with him. He has not been charged with rape and the victim was reluctant to talk about it on the stand.
The accused rapist, who sat at the defense table, confined to a wheelchair following a motorcycle crash, caused a stir by making faces at the witness.
“I don’t know if this gentleman is mentally retarded or if this is someway related to his self-proclaimed injury,” protested Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colvard, asking the judge to admon-ish the defendant.
“I’ll send you right on back to jail,” Judge Locke warned, losing patience with the defendant.
The woman finished her testimony by saying she and the other hostages fled and sought ref-uge at a nearby residence when it was learned deputies were coming to the residence. She noted a deputy had come to the door hours before their escape but they were made to stay quiet and the of-ficer left when no one answered his knock.
In the wake of the hearing, Golden remains held under $250,000 bond, Pegg under $500,000 and Turner $1 million.