A repeat sex offender went on a crime spree in Portsmouth, attacking a woman at a grocery store and a child on the way to school. But this is far from the predator’s first brush with the law. He has a criminal history spanning nearly 20 years.
Police identified the suspect as 54-year-old Jimmy Lee Barnett from Lucasville. Shortly after 9:30 am on Wednesday, a frantic call came into the Portsmouth Police Department stating that a student at the Portsmouth STEM Academy was accosted by a man in a red hoodie. He knocked the girl to the ground during the attack. Fortunately, several people witnessed the attack. One bystander was able to chase the man away.
Portsmouth police officers converged on the area and quickly collared the fleeing suspect. Officials contacted the child’s parents. Officers pulled their cruisers up to the school and had Barnett step outside of the vehicle. The girl was able to positively identify him as her attacker.
Attacked Woman At Aldi The Day Before
An investigation by PPD determined this wasn’t Barnett’s first attack this week. You’ll recall that we told you about an attack in the Aldi parking lot on Tuesday evening. A man in a red hoodie forced the woman back into her vehicle and punched her numerous times in the head and face area. The victim was able to fight back and the suspect fled towards Speedway wearing only one shoe. Police determined Barnett was the attacker in this case.
Barnett is a registered sex offender currently on parole. Once police got him to the station, he tried to escape and assaulted several investigators and a patrol officer. Police physically restraint the combative suspect.
Barnett is currently housed in the Scioto County Jail and is charged with parole violation, gross sexual imposition, escape, kidnapping, assault on a law enforcement officer, and resisting arrest.
However, charges like this are nothing new to Barnett. A review of his criminal history shows two separate convictions for gross sexual imposition. Also, convictions of kidnapping and aggravated robbery with a firearm.
Megan Warnock, the Portsmouth STEM Academy’s principal, spoke with SCDN about the events. She wanted to thank the quick response and professionalism of the Portsmouth Police Department. Principal Warnock said, “We have a safety protocol in place, and those procedures were immediately implemented”. In addition, she wanted to reiterate that the incident did not happen in the school or on school property. This was something that occurred on an adjacent property.
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