A man behind bars on charges he sexually attacked a woman has sent a letter threatening to kill her, authorities say.
"If you step foot back in Florida for anything it will be your last vacation ever," the letter says, according to a Hollywood police report. Fingerprints were lifted to identify the letter's author as Justin Hall, 24, of Andalusia, Ala., the report said.
Hall has been in custody in the Broward County jail since the original Sept. 19 incident at the Comfort Inn, 2520 Stirling Road, in Hollywood. At that time, Hall was charged with attempted second-degree murder, sexual battery, attempted sexual battery and robbery in connection with the attack.
Now, he also faces a charge of obstructing justice and intimidating or threatening a victim or witness, in part thanks to the undeterred woman, police said.
Despite the threat, the woman contacted prosecutors after receiving the letter from Hall at her California home. She returned to Florida and submitted the original letter to authorities on Feb. 11 at Hollywood Police headquarters.
The letter also stated that if detectives continued their questioning, Hall would pay the woman a visit.
"That's not a threat," the letter said. "It's a promise. So if you're smart let bygones be bygones and you won't hear from me again."
Police said that Hall met the woman at the hotel bar and invited her to do some cocaine. The pair went to the woman's hotel room and when Hall appeared to be falling asleep, she tried to usher him out, police said.
But Hall turned on her and grabbed the woman in a chokehold before pulling her pants off, the report said. He then sexually assaulted her and, as she tried to fight him off, Hall again attempted to choke her until she lost consciousness, it said.
She woke up moments later to Hall slipping her $5,000 wedding ring off her finger before fleeing, police said.
The woman called 911 about 1:30 a.m. and as she spoke with officers, a co-worker of Hall's recognized her from the hotel bar and guided investigators to Hall's room, the report said.
Hall gave investigators permission to search his room. The woman's wedding ring was found in his work boots and her cellphone was in his suitcase, police said.
He was taken into custody.
Broward County Judge John "Jay" Hurley ordered Hall held without bond on Monday and prohibited him from communicating with anyone other than his attorney or an agent of his attorney by telephone or by mail.
Mary Reidel, president and CEO of Women in Distress of Broward County, which operates a crisis hotline and emergency shelter for domestic violence victims, said intimidation is often a technique used by perpetrators.
In some cases, the threats and intimidation may be so severe that it deters a victim from continuing with the prosecution of a case.
"It's about power and control," she said. "And if they think they can have power over that person, threatening and intimidation is one way to do it."
But each victim reacts based on his or her own set of individual circumstances and past history, Reidel said.
"Some people have a long history of being battered and abused. They've been beaten down so much and there is no self-esteem; there's no way to see they will prevail," she said. "For other people, there may be more support and sense of awareness."
Victim advocates try to address victims' real concerns and fears and counsel them to exercise their rights, said Linda Laviano, a victim advocate with the Broward County State Attorney's Office.
They also offer to help coordinate safety plans by having local law enforcement keep a closer watch and conduct safety checks at homes that may need security cameras, trimmed bushes or peepholes on doors, she said.
"It's important to empower the victim, to take the steps they feel they need to take to be safe," Laviano said.
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