JEFFERSONVILLE – A convicted sex offender accused of sexually assaulting and killing a 17-year-old southern Indiana girl said Thursday that he didn’t plan the crime but lost control after the girl resisted his advances.
Richard Hooten, 49, of Clarksville also said he didn’t realize how young Tara Willenborg was.
I just lost it in my head. I just lost control, Hooten told reporters gathered at the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reported.
Hooten, who has not yet been assigned a public defender, has been charged with murder, rape, criminal deviate conduct, abuse of a corpse and being a habitual offender. He’s being held in the Clark County Jail.
Willenborg was found dead by her fiancé in the bedroom of the apartment they shared when he returned home from work early Saturday. She would have turned 18 on Sunday.
Hooten told police that he asked Willenborg if she wanted to hang out, and she agreed.
I went into her apartment and she was a pretty girl, you know. But I didn’t know she was 17, I thought she was like 19 or 20, he said.
Clark County Prosecutor Steve Stewart plans to decide in the next two weeks whether to pursue the death penalty against Hooten.