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No bail for man charged with attempted murder in West Town sex attack

Surveillance photo of a man suspected of beating and sexually assaulting a woman Saturday morning in West Town | Chicago police

A 37-year-old Austin man was denied bail Wednesday and now faces an attempted murder charge in a West Town attack that left an 18-year-old woman with brain damage.

The charge of attempted first-degree murder was added against Rufus Carson ahead of his bail hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Charges against Carson were announced late Tuesday and also included felony counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated criminal sexual assault, police and prosecutors said.

Rufus Carson | Chicago police
Rufus Carson | Chicago police

About 7 a.m. Sunday, the woman was headed to a West Town business on the CTA Blue Line when she got off at Chicago and Milwaukee avenues, Assistant State’s Attorney Nancee Hofheimer said in court.

Ahead of her arrival, Carson was videotaped by CTA surveillance cameras pacing at the station and touching himself through his pants, Hofheimer said. After the woman got off the train, Carson jogged after her and followed her down onto an escalator, where a surveillance camera recorded a clear picture of his face.

Near Ogden and Ohio avenues, surveillance cameras captured Carson running up behind the woman, grabbing her and pulling her into an alley near a construction site, Hofhiemer said. The camera also recorded audio of the woman screaming as she was pulled into the alley and screaming periodically for more than 20 minutes as she was attacked, Hofheimer said.

Near the middle of the video obtained by investigators, Carson appears at the mouth of the alley, looks around and then goes back into the alley, Hofheimer said. Later, he returned to the Blue Line station the same way he came.

The woman was found in a pool of blood by two people who were working at a construction area nearby, Hofheimer said. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.

In addition to the sexual assault, the woman was severely beaten and suffered traumatic brain injury, multiple facial fractures and is in “a concussed state, unable to speak or see,” Hofheimer said.

At the time of the attack, Carson was out on bond while facing a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor out of McHenry County for allegedly masturbating in front of his girlfriend’s child, Hofheimer said.

He also has five previous felony convictions, including convictions for burglary and manufacture or delivery of heroin, Hofheimer said.

Area Central detectives arrested Carson about 9 p.m. Monday in the 3800 block of West Division after identifying him using surveillance video provided by the CTA, according to Chicago police.

When he was interviewed by detectives, Carson identified himself as the man on the Blue Line platform and walking south on Ogden directly behind the woman, prosecutors said.

Carson’s court-appointed defense attorney said he was the father of one child, had completed high school and was working with a company that produces plastic products to make a living.

Judge David Navarro ordered Carson held without bail and his next court date was set for Sept. 17.