Death penalty recommended for accused Clark County rapist, murde - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Death penalty recommended for accused Clark County rapist, murderer

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Richard Hooten during an interview with WAVE 3 News. Richard Hooten during an interview with WAVE 3 News.
Tara Willenborg (Source: Family photo) Tara Willenborg (Source: Family photo)

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – The Clark County Prosecutor's Office is seeking the death penalty against a convicted sex offender accused of raping and murdering his teenage neighbor.

Richard Hooten is accused of raping and strangling Tara Willenborg, at her Cambridge Square apartment in Clarksville this past March.

Hooten did not appear in court Monday for a pretrial conference set before Judge Vicki Carmichael. Instead, Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Jeremy Mull met with defense attorneys for Hooten. The brief meeting ended with Mull recommending the death penalty in the case.

"We're going to take the next few days and the parties are going to submit the paperwork to the court as far as when some deadlines ought to be in the case," said Mull. "We're going to try to keep the case moving as efficiently and quickly as possible."

In April, Hooten confessed to WAVE 3 News he raped Willenborg along with at least four other women. He maintained, however, that Willenborg was the only victim he ever murdered.

Despite the recorded confession, Mull said Hooten's case won't be a cake walk.

"Any death penalty case is a challenge. There are a lot of requirements that the state is required to go through to do one of those properly," said Mull. "We will just move forward carefully and follow the law on all points and hopefully at the end of it that the jury comes back with a decision for death in the case."  

Mull expects a decision in the timeframe of Hooten's case to be made within the next 30 days.

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