January 15, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Michael Christopher Blocker is in jail, charged with the rape and robbery last week of a 74-year-old woman at her home on Walton Way.
Early this morning, investigators raided Blocker's house on the 2600 block of Hazel Street.
"After his interview, there is absolutely no doubt in our mind that this is the guy that was involved in the assault," Sheriff Ronnie Strength said at a news conference this afternoon.
All this is a sigh of relief for neighbors on Walton Way and students at nearby Augusta State University...but they still say this is a wakeup call to be more careful.
Sidewalks once filled with joggers and walkers were empty today. The rape is shocking for neighbors like Richard McCray.
"We're not immune to stuff like that," he said, "but I wouldn't have expected it to be so close."
It happened just down the street, where the elderly woman took her dog for an early morning walk.
Deputies say the attacker caught up with her once she got back and pushed his way into her apartment.
Now, almost a week later, Michael Blocker was arrested on felony rape, burglary, and robbery charges.
Blocker lives with his father Henry on Hazel Street, just a half mile away from the victim's home on Walton Way.
"It's hard for me to hear," Henry told News 12. "It's unlike Michael to mess with a 74-year-old woman."
Henry doesn't believe the rape charges. But neighbors and students like Robert Maddox are relieved deputies made the arrest.
"People around here can feel safer, students can come back here at night to do night assignments," Robert said.
Now, he says, life might get back to normal for everyone who has been living in fear, wondering who might be in the shadows or right behind them on a street they once thought was safe.
"The more they put people like that in jail, the better off we all are," Robert said.
Deputies say it's rare to see a stranger-to-stranger rape; most victims know their attackers.
Blocker has been convicted five times in the last two decades for burglary, theft, and having cocaine.