ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – An Asheville man will spend at least 20 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of rape and assault.

William Todd Murrell, 58, of Asheville was found guilty after a multi-week trial in Buncombe County. The jury found Murrell guilty of one count of first degree forcible rape and one count of felony assault inflicting serious bodily injury. The jury acquitted Murrell of a charge of first degree kidnapping.

The offenses were first reported to the Asheville Police Department in February 2020, after the victim of the crimes was removed from Murrell’s home by her friends and members of her family.

The victim was taken to the hospital where they were treated for injuries.

According to the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office, the victim testified Murrell gave her alcohol and Trazadone and that she was assaulted by Murrell multiple times, dragged by her arms and legs, kicked in the head and raped.

Photographs and documents admitted at trial showed that the victim suffered a traumatic brain injury, multiple scrapes and bruises on her arms and legs, cigarette burns to her back and chest, and other injuries. Doctors said upon admission for treatment her blood alcohol content was potentially lethal; toxicology showed the presence of barbiturates and benzodiazepines.  

According to the district attorney’s office, the victim met Murrell while they were getting treatment for substance abuse.

Murrell was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison for the rape conviction, followed by another minimum two years for the assault charge.

“The District Attorney’s Office thanks all jurors serving for the protracted period required to present and review all of the evidence in this case.  It’s clear that these jurors took their oaths seriously by conscientiously reviewing multiple exhibits and deliberating with care for almost a week. I wish the victim peace and healing and thank her for her courage and cooperation,” District Attorney Todd Williams said.