GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) -– Investigators have arrested an Oregon parolee for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman along the Springwater Corridor.
Thomas Peacock, who turned 51 on Friday, was arrested Thursday. Gresham Police detectives and members of the East Metro SWAT Team found him around Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Portland.
The investigation started March 18 when police were called to the Walmart on the 3900 block of West Powell Blvd. on reports of a woman who had been attacked while on the Springwater Corridor.
According to police, the woman was riding her bike along the corridor when she got a flat tire. While changing her tire, the woman flagged down a man riding a mountain bike and asked for help.
Investigators now believe that man was Peacock.
Peacock spoke with the woman for a short time “before threatening to kill her,” police said. Officers said Peacock threatened the woman with a knife.
“He then forced her into a wooded area to the south of the trail and sexually assaulted her,” according to police.
Gresham Police Detective Fred Huffman said in a prepared statement: “following up on tips received from the Gresham Police tip line assisted with identifying Thomas Peacock as the suspect.”
Peacock was booked into Multnomah County Detention Center on his outstanding parole warrant. He will also face charges of first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, and first-degree robbery.
He pleaded not guilty and his next court appearance is set for April 4.
His previous record
Peacock was in Oregon’s Department of Corrections custody from Jan. 27, 1984 until Aug. 21, 2015, according to DOC spokesperson Betty A. Bernt.
He was convicted in Multnomah County in 1984 for burglary and robbery, according to Bernt. Peacock was incarcerated, with no break in time, from 1984 through 2015.
However, according to court records, in July 1988, prosecutors in Marion County charged Peacock with 3 counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count each of first-degree robbery and unlawful use of a weapon.
Speaking by phone on Thursday, Judge Jamese Lou Rhoades, the Marion County Deputy District Attorney who prosecuted Peacock in 1988, confirmed he and 2 other men escaped while in state custody. They started walking throughout Marion County and eventually entered a convenience store in south Salem on May 2, 1988 and assaulted the clerk.
The clerk, an older man, was attacked using a box cutter knife and had his throat sliced, according to Rhoades. The clerk survived his injures. He was also hit with a railroad spike, the former prosecutor said.
Peacock and the other men took the clerk’s car and fled with beer taken from the store.
An alert officer spotted the vehicle and thought it was suspicious. The officer eventually stopped the car on a dead-end road, Rhoades said. The men fled. Eventually, Peacock was found sitting down in a muddy area drinking the stolen beer, according to Rhoades.
Brenda Carney, executive director of the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision, said Peacock was released from custody on August 21, 2015. An active warrant for violating his release was issued on October 15, 2015. Carney said the parole board issued a warrant after it was discovered Peacock reportedly violated his release terms in the attempted aggravated murder case. Details of the violation have not been released.
Gresham Police Department said the original “outstanding arrest warrant from the Oregon State Parole Board” was “for the underlying charge of homicide.”
Carney could not find any records showing Peacock committed a homicide, just the attempted aggravated murder case in 1988.
“His records are very confusing,” Bernt said in an email.
KOIN 6 News continues to look into Peacock’s criminal past.
Detectives are asking anyone who may have had similar encounters with Peacock to call the Gresham Police tip line at 503.618.2719.