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Suspect in Fayette County rape, beating surrenders with burns on legs

Paul Peirce

A Fayette County man who was on the run for two weeks after raping and severely beating a woman, then setting his car on fire, had burns on his legs when he turned himself in at the Uniontown police station Monday, police said.

Rahmel Williams, 40, of New Salem had to be treated at the West Penn Hospital burn unit in Pittsburgh for burn wounds to both legs before he was arraigned at about 9 p.m. Monday in Central Court in Uniontown, according to state police.

He was arraigned on charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated assault, arson, tampering with evidence, simple assault and criminal mischief filed by state police in Uniontown.

“(Williams) was transported to Uniontown Hospital, then to the West Penn Hospital Burn Center for treatment. Williams indicated that both his legs were burned in a car fire,” Trooper James Pierce said.

Williams, whose last known address was 1 Mary St. in New Salem, assaulted a 42-year-old woman in his car June 5 after they met at the Park's Casino in Uniontown and drove to rural Craig Lane in North Union, Pierce alleges.

The woman was severely beaten and sexually assaulted, police said. After she escaped about 1:30 a.m., a passer-by took her to Uniontown Hospital.

The woman was transferred to UPMC Mercy, where she was admitted, Pierce said. She needed surgery because of the severity of her injuries, police said.

A day after the assault, police discovered the 2001 Hyundai Sonata that Williams had been driving partially burned along Riffle Hollow Road in German Township, Pierce said.

Investigators confiscated from inside the car several pieces of clothing they believe he wore during the assault. The clothing was saturated in gasoline, police said.

Williams was committed to the Fayette County Prison on failing to post $500,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or [email protected],


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