(KMOV) – Police say a St. Louis man has pleaded guilty to charges he kidnapped a 15-year-old girl as she walked to her bus stop, then tried to rape her inside his car early last year.
Charles Smith, 27, pleaded guilty on Jan. 30 to three counts of armed criminal action, first-degree robbery, attempted forcible rape and kidnapping.
According to court documents, the victim was walking to her bus stop near the 200 block of Koeln on Feb. 6, 2012, when Smith grabbed her from behind and forced her into his van by holding a box cutter to her neck.
Smith then drove to the intersection of Minnesota and Mott, where he demanded money from the girl.
Police said Smith climbed into the back seat. He pulled off the girl’s shoes and pants and climbed next to her and touched her upper thigh area.
Authorities said the girl fought the man.
“He put his hands over her mouth and she bit him,” the victim’s grandmother told News 4 last year. “She bit him really hard and she was fighting and she didn’t let go.”
That’s when the girl was able to break free, running out of the car wearing only a pullover, underwear and one sock.
She sustained a scratch below her eye, a cut inside her mouth, a bruise on her thigh and had a chunk of hair pulled out in the struggle. Smith took the girl’s cell phone, backpack and clothing.
“She had to run out into the middle of the street and flag down a passing motorist and she was only partially clothed at that point,” St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said.
The police were immediately called and officers tracked the girl’s cell phone to a business in the 8000 block of Van Buren.
Authorities responded to the scene and found a car that matched the girl’s description. Police later determined Smith had just clocked in.
He was brought outside and was identified by the victim as her attacker.
Police reviewed surveillance video and saw Smith had stopped at least three dumpsters in the area. Officers checked all three of them and found the victim’s belongings, as well as the box cutter used in the kidnapping.
The girl also told police Smith was using the headphones he took from her.
DNA analysis revealed the girl’s DNA was found under Smith’s right fingernail clippings and the hand where he was bitten.
Smith is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in April. Prosecutors have recommended he be sentenced to life in prison.