Case Against Man Accused of Abducting Runner on Richmond Road Moves Forward

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Christopher Cabral
Christopher Cabral

A woman testified that a man who tried to abduct her while she was on her morning run attacked her with a stun gun in an attempt to subdue her.

Christopher Parris Cabral, 31, is accused of abducting, strangling and sexually assaulting a woman who was running on Richmond Road the morning of Aug. 31.

Cabral appeared in Williamsburg-James City County District Court for a preliminary hearing Friday, during which a judge certified several of the charges that came out of the Aug. 31 incident.

The case will next go before a grand jury, which will determine whether the case moves to trial. Cabral is charged with possession of a stun weapon by a felon, aggravated sexual assault, attempted robbery, abduction, strangulation, misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

During Friday’s hearing, the accuser testified she was beginning her daily run in the early morning hours when she slowed to a walk in front of the Patriot Plaza shopping – on Richmond Road in the City of Williamsburg – to adjust the arm band that held her phone.

When approached by a man she would later identify as Cabral, the woman said she assumed he was a fellow runner and stepped off the sidewalk to let him pass while she continued to adjust her armband. It was not until the man “mimicked” her movement and also stepped off the sidewalk that she realized he was focused not on running but on her.

She testified she squared off to face the man, giving her a clear but dimly-lit look at his face. Seconds later, he grabbed her by the shoulders and repeatedly shocked her in the abdomen with a stun gun. She said she tried to spin out of reach of her assailant but he overpowered her, dragging her behind nearby bushes that blocked them from sight from Richmond Road.

After struggling with one another for several minutes, the accuser testified they both ended up on the ground on their sides with Cabral’s hand around her throat, restricting her ability to breathe. She said he put his hand over her mouth and nose, and she temporarily stopped struggling against him when she felt like she “was about to black out.”

He then demanded she give him her money and valuables, she said. After she repeatedly told him she did not have anything valuable on her, the accuser testified her assailant’s interests turned “more sinister” as he began running his free hand between her legs along her groin area, over her running clothes.

She said at that point she was able to elbow the attacker somewhere around his stomach, causing him to recoil into a fetal position while he still maintained a hold on her shoulders, pinning her to the ground.

The accuser said the man became less physically aggressive and much more talkative, asking her why she was out running at this time and where she worked. He also began to comment on the scrapes she had received on her back and arms during the altercation while running his hands over them, she said.

“He said he decided I needed to learn it wasn’t safe to be out running alone that early in the morning,” she testified, stating he claimed to be a security officer who approached her to teach her a lesson.

After he talked to her a bit more, the accuser and Cabral both got to their feet, she said. He instructed her to close her eyes and asked her if she knew what he looked like. When she denied knowing, he took off running in the direction the victim had initially come from, she told the court.

The accuser then continued running down Richmond Road, in the opposite direction of the man, until she arrived at a particularly well-lit area in front of the Chili’s restaurant, at which point she stopped on the sidewalk to call the Williamsburg Police.

Within an hour, officers found Cabral, who matched the description provided by the accuser, in the parking lot of Captain George’s restaurant.

Officer Jonathan Powell, who initially responded to the incident, drove the accuser to the parking lot to determine whether he was the same man who attacked her. Powell testified the accuser had told him she believed she got a good enough look at her attacker to be able to identify him visually and felt “100 percent certain” she could identify him by his voice because he had been talkative with her.

Powell said the accuser recognized Cabral as her attacker with “98- to 99-percent certainty” from a distance of up to 50 feet. The officer parked a few rows back in the lot and called the officers who were with Cabral several yards away, asking them to put him on speaker phone so the accuser could hear his voice. She then confirmed the voice belonged to the man who had attacked her.

When Powell approached Cabral, he noted a loose hair stuck in his beard that looked identical to the victim’s hair, which was collected but has not been sent for analysis at this time.

The officers with Cabral also obtained his permission to search his vehicle, where they found a stun gun matching the description of the one used on the victim, a small amount of marijuana and a number of items and pieces of clothing matching those a security guard would carry and wear.

The victim suffered no serious injuries, sustaining only minor scratches, bruising, swelling and soreness.

The grand jury hearing date for this case has not yet been set.

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