Man accused of beating, sexually assaulting woman for months

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Missouri City man is in jail, accused of holding a woman against her will for months, of beating her and forcing her to have sex.

Strode Churchwell, 32, was just indicted this week by a Fort Bend grand jury. He's accused of the unlawful restraint, aggravated assault and sexual assault of a girlfriend.

Fort Bend County Sheriff's investigators say the first attack was at a house in Crosby last June where Churchwell allegedly kept the victim for three weeks. Detectives say Churchwell would "lock her in a room naked, not allowing her to leave."

The abuse was emotional, too. He would allegedly threaten her if she tried to get away. According to authorities, Churchwell released the woman in July but he didn't let her go far; he "would beat her & choke her daily," according to the narrative of an incident report obtained by Eyewitness News.

Then from August through November of last year, investigators say Churchwell locked the victim in a different apartment, where he allegedly "burned her clothes, cell phone and ID." The victim said she was beaten daily and choked with electrical wires.

"He would choke me until I passed out," said another woman who Churchwell attacked in 2014. We are not identifying her because of the nature of the crimes. She describes similar circumstances, telling us she, too, was held against her will.

"He would be normal and then all of a sudden would snap, like something psychologically was wrong with him, she said. Churchwell pleaded guilty in that Harris County case and is on deferred probation now as a result.

Churchwell's sister Britney Churchwell defends him, saying he's not the monster others have made him out to be.

"You hear that type of thing and you're like, wow I don't even see that in him," she said.

Churchwell denied our request to talk with him at the jail. He remains in custody. His attorney says they look forward to challenging the allegations and proving them false.
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