Man seen dragging unconscious rape victim to car outside Ormond Beach restaurant, police say
Suspect registered sex offender, previously accused of similar assault
ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Ormond Beach detectives were attempting to locate a registered sex offender who they say dragged an unconscious woman to his truck outside a restaurant before he kidnapped and sexually battered her.
Police said they were contacted by the victim’s family after they found her -- unable to speak or stand on her own-- in her car parked outside the restaurant where she was supposed to meet Jason Minton, 43, of DeLand, about a possible job opportunity.
Minton is facing charges of kidnapping and sexual battery. Attorney Aaron Delgado, who represented Minton when he was previously accused of sexual battery in 2015, told News 6 Minton planned to turn himself in Friday night.
Minton is in custody and being held on no bond.
According to the arrest affidavit, Minton met the victim while she was at work on Feb. 14. The victim told police Minton overheard her telling another customer she was looking for a better-paying job and he said the tree company he works for was looking to hire someone. Minton contacted the victim the next day to set up an interview, according to the report.
On Feb. 18, Minton met the victim for what he told her would not be a “conventional” interview at River Grille on North U.S. 1, police said.
During the course of the mid-day interview, Minton ordered multiple alcoholic drinks for the victim, according to the report. The victim said she remembers seeing a text message around 2:30 p.m. and then waking up at her mother’s house later that night.
“This was premeditated," Ormond Beach police Officer Keith Walker said. "This guy knew exactly what he was doing.”
Ormond Beach police released a surveillance video from River Grille that they said shows Minton dragging the victim through the parking lot to his truck.
The video shows a man dragging a woman who was clearly unable to control her limbs and walk on her own. At one point, the woman lays lifeless on the ground as Minton needs to put her down to open the passenger-side door. The video shows Minton goes back into the restaurant. Police said he went in to pay the bill.
“He leaves the victim in the parking lot after the victim falls down," Walker said. "He goes back into the restaurant, pays the bill and then comes back and basically drags an unconscious victim into his vehicle, loads her up and drives away,”
About 63 minutes later, returned to the parking lot, pulled the victim out and put her in her vehicle before driving away, the video shows. That’s where she was found by her family, according to police.
The victim’s mother told police she tried calling her daughter around 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. and then tracked her daughter’s phone. The mother said she saw her daughter’s phone location leave the River Grille, go south on U.S. 1 and then stop near a wooded area.
Becoming increasingly concerned, the mother and her husband went to the restaurant, according to the report. Police said the couple saw a black truck with a tree service logo leaving the parking lot and then discovered the victim in the passenger seat of her car. The mother told police her daughter was incoherent, disheveled and unable to answer questions.
According to the report, the victim suffered physical injuries and was taken to the hospital by her family.
“It’s sickening that he’s out on the streets doing this," Walker said. "Anybody’s child could be a victim of this guy.”
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Friday law enforcement are also investigating a separate case in Orange City where a woman said she met with a man for an interview at a tree service business and he persistently ordered her alcohol. That woman said the man drove her to a scheduled area and touched her against her will and offered her cash for sex. She was not incapacitated and able to resist and reject the man’s advances, Chitwood said.
“That case is still under investigation by our detectives, but I believe the suspect’s identity will be determined very soon,” Chitwood wrote in a post on Facebook.
Records show Minton has a history of sexual violence. In 1998, he was convicted and sentenced to two years for sexual battery, Florida Department of Corrections records show.
In 2015, Minton was arrested for a similar incident to what he is now accused of. During that incident, Volusia County deputies said he bought the victim several drinks then forced a pill down her throat. The victim said she couldn’t move or talk and she awoke with Minton on top of her.
Minton was charged with sexual battery in that case but was later convicted of misdemeanor battery and served no jail time.
According to a blog post by Aaron and Delgado and Associates, Minton’s defense attorneys in that case, Minton faced life in prison but after the judge dismissed a kidnapping charge Minton walked “out of the courtroom a free man in less than two full days of trial.” He pleads to a misdemeanor offense and served one-year probation, according to the post.
“Until he’s behind bars where he belongs, I want to urge ANY woman who is approached or contacted by Jason Minton to stay as far away from him as you can,” Chitwood said.
During Minton’s first court appearance Saturday, his attorney argued there wasn’t probable cause for the kidnapping charge and asked for a reasonable bond.
Minton is being held on a $50,000 bond for the sexual assault and no bond for his kidnapping charge.
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