Man admits choking woman with vacuum cleaner cord

Derrick Brown
Derrick Brown

GULFPORT -- A man has admitted he tried to sexually assault a woman in her Gulfport apartment and choked her with a vacuum cleaner cord when she screamed for help.

Derrick Brown, 22, told a judge at a plea hearing this week he had been smoking Spice and didn't realize what he was doing, District Attorney Joel Smith said.

Brown pleaded guilty Monday in Harrison County Circuit Court to aggravated assault and attempted sexual battery.

Circuit Judge Chris Schmidt ordered him taken into custody and set a sentencing date for May 2. Schmidt also ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

The sex crime carries a maximum 30-year prison term. Because of the nature of the crime, state law requires the sentence be served day for day.

The assault is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The assaults occurred Feb. 11, 2015, at Emerald Pines Apartments, where police learned he had been running around the complex and groping women.

Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker submitted evidence Monday showing he knocked on a woman's door about 7 a.m. and forced his way in when she cracked it open, Smith said.

He tried to sexually assault her and to silence her screams, authorities said.

The woman was able to get out and seek help.

Gulfport police, responding to 911 calls, caught Brown as he tried to leave the area.

Smith said Brown apologized Monday to the court and the woman, and said he couldn't remember or understand all of what had happened because he was under the influence of the drug Spice.

A grand jury had also indicted him on charges of kidnapping and trying to take a motor vehicle.

He is held at the Harrison County jail.

The sex crime conviction means he will be required to register as a sex offender all his life.