Essex man, 22, charged with rape


TOWSON -- Baltimore County police have charged a 22-year-old Essex man with the rape and near fatal beating of a 26-year-old Chase woman who was found crawling from a wooded area off Bourque Road in Middle River early Friday morning.

A man originally arrested and charged with the crime has been released.

Police said Byron M. Stewart, of the first block of Beech Drive, was arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with first-degree rape, attempted murder and assault with attempt to maim.

He is being held at the Cockeysville station without bail pending a bail review hearing today.

A man originally charged in the attack, Vernon Alonzo Cooper, 27, whose address was not available, was released from the county Detention Center yesterday when a follow-up investigation established his innocence, police said.

Police said Mr. Cooper was arrested Saturday after the victim, who was admitted to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, gave investigators his name.

Although Mr. Cooper said he was innocent when arrested, police were unable to interview the victim immediately because of her injuries.

Yesterday, police said, the victim positively identified Mr. Stewart as her assailant after viewing photos of several men. Physical evidence at the scene also linked him to the crime, police said.

Police said the victim willingly left the Main Event bar in the 1900 block of Eastern Ave. with Mr. Stewart and was not abducted as she originally claimed.

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