Crittenden County Man Charged with Series of Rapes

MARCH 9, 2005 - Updated at 8:32 p.m. CST

EARLE, AR - A suspect has been charged with a series of rapes of elderly women in the Crittenden County town of Earle.

Authorities say evidence from the crime lab has linked 25-year-old Richard Edward Merritt to attacks in 2003 and 2004. Ages of the three victims are; 71, 84 and 94. Merritt appeared in West Memphis district court via a television link on Wednesday afternoon.

He is charged with multiple crimes including:

  • 3 counts of rape
  • 2 counts of kidnapping
  • 3 counts of burglary
  • 1 count theft, motor vehicle
  • 1 violation of parole

The parole violation stems from a commercial theft conviction in 2000. Merritt's bond has been set at $ 2 million dollars. He is scheduled to appear in circuit court on April 29, 2005.