Tablet Local

Victim recounts four-hour ordeal of home invasion, sexual assault

Editor’s note: This article contains graphic and explicit language.

The rapist gave the woman five seconds to complete each task on the day that he robbed her, threatening her with a butcher knife that he held just above her head.

The woman, who was celebrating her 49th birthday on the day she was attacked, said she began crying when she saw the knife.

“The first thing I said was please don’t hurt me,” the woman said.

But the rapist, Anson Grissom, said, “ ‘I’m not going to put up with any of that,’ and he gave me five seconds to stop crying,” the woman testified at Grissom’s sentencing hearing on Thursday.

Grissom, 23, of Arlington, pleaded guilty in January to aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery and burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit sexual assault.

On Thursday, state District Judge George Gallagher sentenced Grissom to 45 years in prison on each of his three charges and ordered that the sentences run concurrently.

Grissom told authorities that he had taken Xanax and had drunk alcohol before sexually assaulting and robbing his victim at knifepoint for her rent money, according to his attorney, Charles Roach.

Grissom said he was very sorry for what he did, Roach said.

“He’s not hiding anything,” Roach told the court before his client was sentenced.

‘What was that?’

The woman, who is not being identified because she is a sexual assault victim, said Thursday’s hearing was the first time she has told anyone other than police and counselors her story.

She testified that on Oct. 4, 2012, she was inside her townhouse in southwest Arlington, gathering clothes to give to Goodwill. Her door was open as she put the clothes outside.

About 1:30 a.m., she heard something bump against the wall, and asked herself, “What was that?” as she looked at her dog. She then saw the bill of a baseball cap rounding the corner before a man wearing work gloves and what looked like an ace bandage wrapped around his face came into her room.

The victim did not know the assailant, but police later used the tattoos on his arm to identify him as Grissom.

He made the woman take off her clothes and perform oral sex on him, she testified.

“The knife was right by my head,” the woman testified. “I was down on my knees. He was not saying anything. I was wondering if, when it was over, if it would be the end of me. I was worried that my daughter would come home to bring my birthday gift and he would still be there.”

Before leaving, Grissom took her rent money and the cellphone on her nightstand, she said. Grissom made her brush her teeth and wash her hands, she said.

He then forced her to perform oral sex again, she said.

A four-hour ordeal

The sexual assault and robbery went on for two hours, she testified. Then, for two more hours, she waited inside a locked bathroom.

Standing outside the door, Grissom threatened to kill the woman, her daughter and her dog.

“He said if I called the police he would know because he was in the area and that he would come back for me and my daughter,” the victim testified. “I screamed and he took off.’ ”

Eventually, the woman came out of the bathroom and used some furniture to barricade herself inside her bedroom and grabbed a screwdriver for protection, just in case he was still inside the house.

Hours later the woman went to the house where her daughter had spent the night, she said.

“I grabbed my dog first and ran to my truck,” the woman said.

She has not returned to her home.

“When I am by myself and I hear a noise I go into a panic attack,” the woman said. “I freeze and I am unable to move. I feel like I am sitting on that chair for four hours. I’ve seen my own shadow and been afraid of it.”

‘They have warned us’

Arlington police arrested Grissom on an unrelated warrant on Oct. 11, 2012, after questioning him days before. Detective Becky Szatkowski said an officer found the victim’s cellphone in a drainage ditch outside of Grissom’s residence. A fingerprint on the phone matched Grissom’s.

Grissom’s mother, Regina Grissom, said before drugs, before this crime, her son would come to work with her at Mission Arlington and share the story of Jesus with other children. Several workers from Mission Arlington/Mission Metroplex, an organization that strives to help the needy, were in the courtroom.

“At one point we got him into rehab,” Regina Grissom said. “He did all right for awhile but then he got back into drugs.”

Jacob Mitchell, who prosecuted the case along with Bill Vassar, said Grissom’s pre-sentencing report showed he becomes aroused by rape scenarios and was identified by counselors as an extreme risk.

“They have warned us,” Mitchell said during his closing argument. “The risks and the facts show he deserves a life sentence.”

Just before handing down Grissom’s sentence, Gallagher said there were many good people inside the courtroom except for one.

Then Gallagher allowed Grissom to say goodbye to his mother and sister, who hugged each other and cried long after the victim and her relatives left the courtroom.