Spartanburg Man Sentenced To 50 Years For Milliken Park Attack - WSPA.com

Spartanburg Man Sentenced To 50 Years For Milliken Park Attack

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By Rob Landreth

It took only three hours for a jury to find a Spartanburg man guilty for attacking a walker in a popular Spartanburg park last year.

Walter Monroe Lance was found guilty of assault with intent to commit first-degree criminal sexual conduct, robbery and kidnapping at the conclusion of the two day trial. Circuit Court Judge Derham Cole sentenced Lance to 50 years in prison on all of the charges.

Last October, Lance was arrested after he attacked a 49-year old woman who was walking her dog at Milliken Park. The victim testified during the first day of the trial that she noticed Lance wearing a black outfit, and sitting in the grass near where she parked.

The woman said that she and her dog started their daily walk and Lance approached them minutes later, near the pond. Lance began to play with the dog, before grabbing the victim in a bear hug. He then choked the woman and dragged her into a wooded area, forcing her to undress. He then attempted to rape her, but he was physically unable to do so.

Testimony revealed that lance threatened to shoot the victim if she screamed. He then told the victim to drive him to Boiling Springs, but she managed to talk him out of making the trip. She gave him the keys to her car, and after Lance left in her car, she redressed, called 9-1-1 and ran for help.

The victim's car was located in a parking lot on Sibley Street, a short distance from Lance's home on Front Street. The victim pointed at Lance at the conclusion of her testimony.

Solicitor Barry Barnette and Assistant Solicitor Timi Poulos showed jurors photos in the aftermath of the crimes. The photos showed marks that were left by Lance on when he tried to choke the victim with her jacket. The prosecution also utilized DNA evidence, the victim's 911 call and crime scene photos.

“Walter Lance will spend the balance of his life behind bars and our community is a better place because of his incarceration.” Barnette said.

A local high school teacher further bolstered the prosecution's case when she testified that she saw Lance at the park on the day of the incident wearing an all black outfit.

Lance has a prior criminal record dating back to 1983, including convictions for assaults.

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