A Walworth County Fair carnival worker from Mississippi is suspected of beating a woman with a hammer in what Police Chief Joel Christensen said is the most violent Elkhorn attack he has seen in his 30 years at the police department.
Terrence D. Leflore, 24, was arrested Monday at the Walworth County Fairgrounds on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault, robbery, first-degree reckless injury, aggravated battery and obstructing an officer.
Elkhorn police say Leflore of Jackson, Mississippi, admitted to assaulting the 21-year-old woman in her car at a public parking lot in the first block of South Lincoln Street, Elkhorn, at 10:11 p.m. Aug. 28.
Christensen said the arrest brought a sense of relief to the community.
“Any time there’s an attack like this, we utilize all our resources and exhaust all our personnel to focus primarily on an incident of this nature. We don’t have violent crimes like this in Elkhorn, and as a result we had to pool all our resources,” Christensen said.
At Leflore’s bond hearing Wednesday afternoon, Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld called the attack a “violent assault.” He said the victim was found with a severe skull fracture, partially clothed and unconscious.
Leflore matched the attacker’s description, Wiedenfeld said. Though he first denied assaulting the woman, Wiedenfeld said Leflore later admitted beating her in the head with a hammer in an effort to rob her.
Leflore told law enforcement he removed the victim’s clothes and sexually assaulted her with the hammer, Wiedenfeld said.
A shirt stolen from the victim later was found in Leflore’s possession, and Wiedenfeld said Leflore’s cellphone showed internet searches for greyhound buses, information on fingerprints and blood and ways to identify if a person sexually assaulted someone else.
The woman had left work shortly after 9 p.m. Aug. 28 and did not immediately arrive home, according to an earlier police news release. Relatives began to look for her, and when they found her vehicle in a parking lot, a man fled the scene.
The woman was found in her vehicle.
The man fled on foot to the backyard of a home in the first block of South Jackson Street, the release states.
Christensen said investigators believe that fleeing man was Leflore.
Judge Phillip Koss set Leflore’s bond at $1 million. His initial appearance is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Monday, when a criminal complaint will be filed.
Leflore was employed by North American Midway Entertainment, the company that supplied the midway entertainment at the Walworth County Fair.
In a news release Wednesday, a company spokeswoman said Leflore had passed a criminal background check conducted by a third party before being hired. The release states the company runs background checks “on all employees and outside contractors before hiring.”
Larry Gaffey, Walworth County Fairgrounds general manager, could not be reached for comment.
The above story was corrected on Sept. 6 to reflect the following correction: Because of incorrect information cited in court, the age of the woman prosecutors say was sexually assaulted in Elkhorn on Aug. 28 was wrong on Page 1A on Thursday. Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld said Thursday the woman is 21 years old.