WEAVERVILLE – A man whom police had previously not to “enter or remain” at a local hotel was arrested and charged with attempted second degree forcible sexual offense, and the woman he allegedly victimized told the Citizen Times he picked the wrong one.
Richard Carlton Barnhill, 30, of Erwin, Tenn., was arrested by the Weaverville Police Department on March 20 at the Fairfield Inn & Suites and faces charges for first degree kidnapping, assault by strangulation, as well as attempted second degree forcible sexual offense, assault on a female and second degree trespass. He has a secured bond of $352,000 and is being held in the Buncombe County Detention Center, according to a news release.
The woman, who spoke to the Citizen-Times, said she works at the hotel and was followed by Barnhill into a room, where he told her to take off her clothes. When she refused, he assaulted her, she said.
The woman, whom the Citizen Times is not naming because of our company policy on identifying victims of sexual assault, said she kicked Barnhill in the chest, then the face and escaped.
“He had me to the point where I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it,” she said. “He had me almost blacking out, covering my mouth and nose to where I couldn’t breathe. He didn’t get very far, thankfully. He chose a fighter.”
According to a magistrate’s order, Barnhill attempted “to engage in a sex offense” with her “by force and against (her) will,” when he shoved her onto a bed, “jumping on her to hold her down, struggling with her and putting his hands over her mouth and nose … ripping her earring off and bruising her earlobe.”
Her coworkers, who had already noticed “a sketchy man,” she said, wandering in the hotel, heard her yelling and intervened quickly,.
“Thankfully, because of everything that happened, not only did he realize that not every girl is going to give in to him, but hopefully he realized that he never needs to lay a finger on someone again,” she said.
Barnhill trespassed after he was told by a police officer previously to not “enter or remain” at the Fairfield Inn , according to the magistrate’s order.
“We know about the incident, and we take safety with our guests and associates very seriously,” said President and CEO of Crown Hotel and Travel Management Barry Eagle. He declined to discuss the incident further because it is under police investigation.
Weaverville Police Chief Ron Davis also declined to discuss specifics because the investigation is ongoing.
“The only thing I can say is it’s under investigation right now, and other charges could be pending, and we’re going to consult with the district attorney’s office to see about some other things dealing with this,” he said.
Barnhill’s appointed defense attorney, Teal Mittelstadt, declined to comment.
Barnhill’s court dates are set for April 11 and May 3, according to court documents.
Ryan Oehrli is the breaking news and social justice reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times. Email email@example.com or call 252-944-6816 for tips.