INDIANAPOLIS - Three Indiana men and a woman have been booked on more than 30 separate criminal charges in connection with the alleged beating and kidnapping of a married lesbian couple.
One of the men, Kenneth Allen Braswell, 32, is charged with raping one of the women, according to Indianapolis jail records. Braswell is also charged with criminal confinement, kidnapping, battery with a deadly weapon, battery resulting in bodily injury and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
Police have charged Jose Antonio Nieves, 35, and Thomas James Bell, 26, with crimes that include kidnapping, criminal confinement, battery, intimidation, possession of meth and carrying a handgun without a license. Melissa Richards, 29, is charged with multiple counts of criminal confinement and battery.
The Indianapolis Star reported that an affidavit filed in the case states the couple traveled from Terre Haute to a home on the east side of Indianapolis the morning of Nov. 10 to do heroin. Fox 59 in Indianapolis reported that the house was Richards’ home.
One of the women borrowed Richards’ Mustang to visit her son about 20 miles away in Danville, the news station reported. The women said that Richards became angry when the car wasn’t returned quickly enough.
“I’m keeping your wife until I get my car back,” Richards said, according to the affidavit.
The woman still at Richards’ house told police she was bound with duct tape, pistol-whipped and left in a large closet, the Star reported. She said that, at some point, she felt someone pulling her pants down.
The woman told detectives that Braswell raped her, the Star said.
“If you scream, I’ll hurt you,” he told her, according to the affidavit.
The woman said that her captors then took her to the basement, where she was beaten some more, Fox 59 reported. On Nov. 11, some of the accused retrieved the Mustang, along with the wife, who they forced to go with them at gunpoint, the affidavit said.
When they got back to Richards’ house, the woman was placed in the basement with her wife, where she was also beaten, the document said.
The women said they were held in the basement until Nov. 14. They were given food and water once, but could not eat due to their injuries, police said.
The Star reported that the affidavit described bruises and cuts on both women’s faces. One of the women also had a broken collarbone.
One of the victims described watching as the group beat her wife, who fell to the ground.
“I didn’t know if she was alive anymore,” the woman said, according to the affidavit.
On Nov. 14, Nieves and Bell are accused of putting both women in Richards’ Mustang for a drive to Bargersville, where, one woman told police, Nieves talked about killing them, the Star said. She said Nieves claimed he knew someone there who would help bury their bodies.
On the way to Bargersville, the Mustang blew a tire, the Star reported. They pulled into a convenience store parking lot, where the women said Nieves tried injecting himself with heroin.
The women asked to use the bathroom, the affidavit said. When Nieves allowed them to go inside the store, the women begged the clerk to call police.
The women locked themselves in the bathroom until police arrived, the Star reported.
Nieves and Bell were arrested outside the convenience store, while Braswell and Richards were taken into custody at Richards’ home.
The Star said that detectives searching Richards’ home confiscated a bloody towel, along with bloody sweatpants found in the closet where one victim said she was raped. There was also a large pool of blood on the basement floor.
In the Mustang, they found two handguns, duct tape, a machete and two cellphones.
Braswell, Nieves and Richards remained in the Marion County Jail on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear when Bell was released.
Court records show that Braswell, Nieves and Bell are scheduled for a Jan. 22 trial on the charges.