Summerville parents lament ‘brazen’ sexual attack by stranger

Michael Glen Evans, 20, had previous arrests for theft and marijuana possession.

The young woman who was sexually assaulted last week on a Summerville hiking trail has lived in fear that the stranger would find her again.

During a bail hearing Tuesday, her parents described the 17-year-old as a driven student who works two jobs and volunteers as a church youth leader.

But since the daylight attack Jan. 9 on the Sawmill Branch Walk/Bike Trail, the teen has slept in her parents’ bed at night while holding her mother’s hand. She has been unable to drive herself to school.

The parents wept as they spoke harshly about Michael Glen Evans, a 20-year-old suspect in the case who has been arrested three times in his adult life for theft of a shotgun and marijuana possession. Citing his past, they asked a magistrate to keep him behind bars, to help keep their daughter’s fear at bay.

“This man was so brazen,” her mother said, according to a video posted on WCBD-TV’s website. “He hunted in a place our community allows their children to play.”

Evans, a resident of Ravenswood Court in Summerville, was denied bail. He faces charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and possession of a knife during the commission of a violent crime. The counts carry a combined maximum sentence of 65 years in prison.

It was unclear whether he had an attorney.

After Evans’ arrest Monday, he provided to police “a statement detailing the kidnapping and sexual assault,” according to arrest affidavits.

The teen had gotten her father’s permission early in the afternoon to exercise on the trail.

The court documents stated that Evans happened upon the teen and rammed his bicycle into her near the SCE&G station at 1885 Bacons Bridge Road. The affidavits alleged that he then grabbed her, put a knife to her throat and dragged her to the wood line, where he assaulted her.

A passerby saw the attack and yelled at the assailant, who biked away, the affidavits stated.

Capt. Jon Rogers of the Summerville Police Department said patrol officers ran down a host of tips after the agency released artistic renderings of the attacker. The teen picked Evans from a photographic lineup compiled by the State Law Enforcement Division, according to the affidavits.

In a municipal courtroom Tuesday, the teen’s father said Evans’ short criminal history shows a “contempt for the law, his neighbors and basic moral understanding,” according to a video posted on WCSC-TV’s website.

In the past three years, Evans has been arrested three times, according to his SLED rap sheet. He has lived in Dorchester, at several homes in Summerville and in Coward in Florence County.

At his most recent address off a cul-de-sac on Ravenswood Court, a house has fallen into disrepair. A man who answered a knock said he “had nothing to say about this,” and he closed the door.

A neighbor, who declined to be identified, said he let Evans borrow his telephone at times. He seemed like a “typical, but troubled boy,” the neighbor said. At one point, the neighbor saw a police officer talking with Evans in the front yard, he said.

Evans’ first arrest came in October 2009, when a 61-year-old man in Coward told sheriff’s deputies that he arrived home from hunting and found Evans stealing his “coon dog.”

The man held Evans on his property until authorities arrived, according to an incident report. Evans told deputies that he had permission to borrow the dog and that he planned to walk it to his home about 3 miles away.

He pleaded guilty to petty larceny of the dog. After he failed to pay a fine, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail, according to court records.

Summerville police officers were the next to arrest Evans, in October 2011. That’s when a man reported that he saw two people enter his car, which was parked outside a restaurant, and take his laptop, Global Positioning System device and backpack.

Officers later stopped a car in which Evans was a passenger. The vehicle contained some of the stolen items, about 0.2 grams of loose marijuana and two burned joints.

It’s unknown what became of Evans’ charges of receiving stolen goods and marijuana possessions.

The next month, police officers in St. George arrested Evans, who was one of four people found in a car parked on private property. Inside, the police uncovered four “half-smoked” marijuana blunts and a 20-gauge shotgun, a report stated.

Evans claimed ownership of the firearm, which had been stolen from Berkeley County, the report stated. He said it was his stepfather’s.

He was fined $55 for petty larceny, court records state.

During the bond hearing Tuesday, the girl’s father said Evans had ample opportunities to make changes and become “a productive member of society,” according to the WCSC video.

“Instead, he escalated to putting a knife against my daughter’s throat,” the father said. “He has repeatedly chosen to throw his own life away.”

Appearing by teleconferencing, Evans said nothing until the proceeding came to a close.

“Do I get to try again for the bond later on?” he asked the magistrate.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.

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