Clarksville teen's accused killer apologizes to victim's family - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Clarksville teen's accused killer apologizes to victim's family

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Tara Willenborg Tara Willenborg
Richard Hooten apologized to the victim's family as he walked into court. Richard Hooten apologized to the victim's family as he walked into court.
Rev. Jennifer Mills-Knutsen Rev. Jennifer Mills-Knutsen

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – The man accused of causing a Clarksville teenager's violent death faced his charges on Monday.

Richard Hooten apologized to the victim's family as he walked into a courtroom. 

A probable cause affidavit was released, shedding more light on how 17-year-old Tara Willenborg was killed. Hooten faces multiple charges including murder, rape and sexual battery.

Willenborg's fiance found her dead inside the apartment they shared early Saturday morning at the Cambridge Square Apartments in Clarksville.

According the probable cause affidavit, Hooten's girlfriend lives next door to Willenborg. The court documents say Willenborg and her fiance sold alcohol to Hooten on the day of the murder. The last time Willenborg talked to her fiance was around 11:30 p.m. on Friday.

Willenborg's fiance told police that he found Willenborg off the side of their bed naked with bruising around her neck. The Clark County prosecutor said Hooten sexually assaulted Willenborg. She died of asphyxia.

Police said that Willenborg's fiance went to the neighbor's apartment to call 911 at 3 a.m., and that Hooten fled the apartment.

He was arrested a short time later on unrelated charges and later admitted to police that he raped and strangled the teenager.

"It's a heinous crime, and it's my job to see that justice is served in the case," said prosecutor Steve Stewart.

Willenborg attended Jeffersonville High School and ran cross country. She had gotten her GED two weeks before she was killed and recently started a job at Subway.

"She loved people, she loved animals and wanted to find a way to make this world a more compassionate and loving place," said Willenborg's pastor, Rev. Jennifer Mills-Knutsen of St. Luke's in Jeffersonville, "so it's especially painful that she received some of the worst this world had to offer."

Mills-Knutson said Willenborg also loved to make cupcakes and had dreams of owning her own cupcake business.

The prosecutor asked that no bond be set for Hooten, who had an outstanding warrant for failing to register as a sex offender.

Hooten's violent criminal history includes rape, sexual battery and sodomy charges out of Indiana and Georgia dating back to 1993.

Copyright 2013 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

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