JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 25-year-old Jacksonville man arrested Wednesday in connection with an armed home invasion and sexual battery was spotted by an observant detective who was able to break the case, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.
Timothy McGhee is charged with sexual battery, two counts of home invasion robbery, armed burglary and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Police said a woman, whose age was not released, and her father were inside an apartment when a man armed with a handgun kicked in the front door about 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the Terraces at Town Center on Gate Parkway near Burnt Mill Road, not far from the St. Johns Town Center.
Police said the man, later identified as McGhee, forced the woman and her father into a bedroom at gunpoint, raped the woman, demanded money and a cellphone and then took off.
The Sheriff's Office on Tuesday night released a composite sketch of the suspect, who was described as being about 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds. Investigators also released surveillance images of a dark-colored SUV without lights that entered the apartment complex at 11:20 p.m. Saturday, following another vehicle. Police said that vehicle left the complex, again without lights on, about 1:53 a.m. Sunday.
Police said Thursday that a detective working the case spotted the SUV, which was a rental car, about 2 p.m. Wednesday on Bay Street, along with a suspect who matched the description the victims had given.
Police said the detective approached McGhee and learned that he had a writ of attachment for child support because he failed to show up for a hearing on an injunction. He was brought in for questioning, and the rape victim picked him out of a photo lineup, police said.
The jacket the suspect was seen wearing in surveillance video was also found in the SUV, along with a hat with red and white lettering, police said. Both items were in the initial suspect description released by police.
According to the Duval County Jail website, McGhee was booked into the jail about 8 p.m. Wednesday. He appeared before a judge Thursday morning and was ordered held without bond.
He will back in court Monday.
Court records show McGhee has been arrested multiple times since 2009, and his ex-girlfriend filed a temporary injunction against him in February.
The ex-girlfriend, who wished to remain anonymous, was shocked when she learned about McGee's recent arrest. She told News4Jax that she filed the injunction against him because he had been stalking her and she wanted it to stop. She also said she last saw her ex-boyfriend several days ago, when he came by to spend time with their son.
According to Department of Corrections records, in 2014, McGhee was involved in a shooting robbery attempt on the Northside and then crashed into the porch of a home on West 30th Street. He pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by delinquent felon, reckless driving and eluding police in that case.
McGhee served 3½ years in prison and was released in 2017.
He had previously served 60 days in jail after pleading guilty in 2013 to assaulting a police officer who was questioning him in a bike theft. He also has prior arrests for trespassing and voyeurism.
According to McGhee's neighbors on Moncrief Road in Northwest Jacksonville, he exhibited a pattern of questionable behavior.
One neighbor, who did not wish to be identified, she had a verbal altercation with McGhee two weeks ago when she says he approached her visiting 31-year-old daughter and made inappropriate comments that were sexual in nature.
"I told him, 'I don’t play when it comes to my kids,'" she said. "And that was it.”
A second neighbor recognized McGhee's mugshot, saying had been hanging around her place of employment near the corner of Emerson Street and Philips Highway, where she said co-workers have raised concerns.
“I’m a manager at work and we have it on our group chat that he’s been lurking around," said the second neighbor, who wanted to remain unnamed. "I got it on a text that he’s been trying to pick up young females.”
Other neighbors told News4Jax that officers were in the area Thursday morning, asking questions.
Residents at the typically quiet apartment complex have been on edge since the attack and said they were grateful JSO made a quick arrest.
Jessica Henderson said management notified her and other tenants by email of an incident, but the email never clearly stated what actually happened.
“I just noticed there were news stations outside, and that’s when I got suspicious and looked things up,” Henderson said.
Henderson said she questions how someone so dangerous could get inside the gated community and whether such an attack could happen again.
She also said someone went inside her apartment and left a letter, alerting her to the attack. She said she doesn't know who left the message because management said it wasn't them.
“You think you’re somewhere safe and in a safe, populated area, and it’s not that safe,” Henderson said.
Wednesday afternoon, Terraces at Town Center management sent News4Jax the following statement, saying the victim told them what happened Monday morning, but police asked management to delay telling tenants until they could gather more information:
The incident is still being investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and we are awaiting the official police report, so we do not know the exact time and day the incident occurred. The victim notified us around 9 a.m. Monday, May 14th, about the incident.
"We notified residents about the incident on May 15th. The Sheriff's Office had requested that we delay telling residents until then so they could gather facts about the incident.
"The property is cooperating with the Sheriff’s office and, as a result, all video footage was provided to the authorities."