ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) — Authorities in southern Utah arrested a man on Wednesday who is accused of violently attacking and threatening to a kill a woman to prevent her from testifying against him in a criminal case.
The investigation began on Monday, when officers with the St. George Police Department say they were called to the Maverik on St. George Boulevard on a reported assault. A severely battered woman had showed up to the gas station, asking the clerks for help and saying the man she was with had tried to kill her.
Officers met with the female in the east parking lot, who was “very upset, visibly shaking, and dressed only in a white towel,” police wrote in charging documents.
The woman told authorities she was staying at the Days Inn across the street with the suspect, 36-year-old Joshua Folland. The two had allegedly gone to the One and Only Bar, where a verbal altercation ensued, prompting her to chase after him as he ran back to their hotel room.
When she went inside the room, she told officers he began to attack her. He allegedly assaulted her with his fists, duct taped her wrists together and her mouth shut when she tried to yell for help.
“She told me that she was on the ground and Joseph pulled out a knife with a long blade. She told me that Joseph held the knife to her throat and told her he was going to kill her,” the officer wrote.
When police asked why the suspect would try to kill her, she explained that she was expected to testify against him next week in Provo, where Folland faces 20 years in prison on charges of kidnapping and assault in the Fourth Judicial District Court.
“She told me that he yelled, ‘I’m gonna kill you so you can’t testify next week,'” police state.
The woman told authorities she lost consciousness and woke up to him dragging her to the bathroom, where he allegedly forced her into the bathtub and attempted to drown her. He then allegedly applied more tape to her wrists and dragged her out of the bathroom, throwing her into the wall.
“She began yelling that she still needed to urinate, and he allowed her to get on the toilet. She told me that she recognized this as an opportunity to try and run,” officers wrote.
The victim told officers she grabbed a towel from the bathroom, escaped the room, and was able to get the tape off of her wrists and mouth before running towards the gas station.
St. George police officer Tiffany Atkin said that Folland had fled the scene, wearing only shorts, but no shirt or shoes, and possibly carrying his wallet. Due to the severity of the case and for the victim’s safety, their detectives felt it was necessary to put out his description on Tuesday evening in attempt to locate him quickly.
Their officers went to several stores, gas stations, and hotels showing staff a photo of Folland to look out for him, Atkin said. Folland was spotted and taken into custody at a local Maverick on Wednesday.
“It was great police work. It was one of our officers who had taken his photo into the Maverick and had shown the clerk to look out for him,” Atkin said. “She was alert enough a few hours later when he walked in to call us.”
Folland is now facing several felony charges, including aggravated assault, witness tampering, and false information to a police officer. He is a convicted felon and was therefore not allowed to have any weapons, so he also faces a third-degree felony charge of possession of a weapon by a restricted person.
Police determined the suspect had a no bail NCIC warrant for aggravated assault and an active warrant out of 2nd District Court in Bountiful.