Fort Worth

Naked man accused in sexual assault of jogger intended to kill her, warrant says

Note: This report contains graphic descriptions.

A crazed 21-year-old man chased down a jogger on Trinity Trails last year and sexually assaulted her, choked her and intended to kill her, according to an arrest warrant.

Justin Lacey Ray told detectives "several times that he was mad," according to the warrant released by police Wednesday and obtained by the Star-Telegram.

Ray described how he beat and strangled the victim and fully intended to kill her in the September 2017 attack but for whatever reason decided against it and fled.

Police officials said Wednesday at a news conference they had identified Ray as the suspect in the violent attack after receiving a tip and said he is a suspect in another sexual assault that occurred the previous month near the Trinity Trails.

"This guy is dangerous," police Capt. Deven Pitt said after the news conference. "He's angry at life."

Ray was in the Ware County Jail on Wednesday in Waycross, Ga., where he is accused of theft. Police learned that he was in jail in Georgia on June 28. Detectives traveled to Ware County, and Ray provided information that linked him to the attack, police said. He is awaiting extradition back to Fort Worth.

The arrest warrant gave the following brief account of the September attack.

At 5 p.m. on Sept. 16, police got a report from a female jogger at 1814 Rogers Road who said she had observed a man later identified as Ray sitting on a bench wearing a pair of black shorts. The man removed his shorts and began riding a bicycle that seemed too small for him.

Patrol officers responded but were unable to find the naked man.

At 7:12 p.m. that same day, a 31-year-old female was walking on the Trinity Trails path just west of the 4800 block of Edwards Ranch Road near the Clearfork development on the Trinity River.

She saw a naked man sitting down and turned around on the path. The man got on a bicycle, chased her down and attacked her. She tried to call 911, but he grabbed her cellphone and tossed it into the river.

Then the suspect is accused of penetrating her with his finger, according to the warrant.

The suspect also punched her a number of times in the face and head. The victim repeatedly yelled at the man, "Let me go! Let me go!" and was able to bite the suspect's finger.

The suspect slammed her head to the ground several times and choked her to the point where she could not breathe, according to the warrant.

"She was able to fight him off, which is a testament to her," police Sgt. Chris Britt said at the news conference.

The victim ran to the subdivision nearby and rang several doorbells looking for help. A resident came to help her when she stumbled in the 4800 block of Overton Woods Drive.

Days after the attack, police released a composite drawing of the suspect in hopes of getting a lead. The same drawing was released again earlier this year, and detectives received the tip that led to Ray a few weeks later.

Naked Suspect composite
Composite drawing of naked man from Sept. 16, 2017 (left), and mugshot of Justin Lacey Ray (right) Photo Tarrant County Jail

The anonymous tipster told police that the composite drawing looked like Ray.

Police said Ray was known in west Fort Worth. But they said they also learned that he was no longer in Fort Worth. Pitt said Ray grew up in Fort Worth. His Facebook page says he's from Saginaw and started work at University Car Wash and Oil Service in Fort Worth in October.

In June, detectives received information that Ray had been arrested in Georgia and faced charges there. Fort Worth detectives interviewed Ray in Georgia.

"He gave details that only he would know about the offense," Pitt said Wednesday.

Police said they believe that Ray left Tarrant County in January.

"He's homeless, so he may have gotten there by railcars," Pitt said. "It could have been by any means."

Ray faces charges of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated assault, police said.

Ray has a criminal history in Tarrant County. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail in November 2016 for criminal trespass in Saginaw, and he got 50 days in jail last year for indecent exposure and evading arrest at the UTA campus, according to Tarrant County criminal court records.

"His parents have filed police reports against him," Pitt said.

Police noted that extra patrols were out on the Trinity Trails after the September attack, and officers continue to monitor the path.

"We advised never let your guard down," Pitt said. "We do as much preventive patrol as we can."

Detectives asked anyone with more information on Ray or if they know of any similar crimes to call the sex crimes unit at 817-392-4350.

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Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763,@mingoramriezjr.