March 4, 2014 9:58:43 AM
A Columbus man is behind bars after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman and held her against her will last week.
Donta Devoris Shirley, 30, of 124 Priscilla Circle, was arrested Thursday by investigators with the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department. The department's Special Response Team assisted in the arrest, which occurred in the Columbus Walmart parking lot. He faces charges on kidnapping and sexual assault.
According to investigators, Shirley held his ex-girlfriend against her will in his home near Columbus Air Force Base.
Chief Deputy Marc Miley said the woman visited Shirley on Feb. 23. When he attempted to have sex with her, she refused, Miley said.
"She was staying with Donta Shirley and during that time he wanted to have sexual relations with her. She said no and then he tried to force her to have sex by threatening her, but she didn't let him."
Miley said Shirley confined the woman in his bedroom until Feb. 26. According to the woman, Shirley "would not let her leave for any reason whatsoever," Miley said.
With the help of a friend, the woman escaped on Feb. 26 and went to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. As is common with a sexual assault report, hospital employees contacted law enforcement and a warrant was issued for Shirley's arrest.
Later that night, Shirley was spotted in the Walmart parking lot with another female. The SRT responded to the area and arrested Shirley without incident. He was booked into custody at 1 a.m. Thursday.
Shirley has been arrested 22 times since 1999 with charges ranging from simple assault to possession of a weapon by a felon. He has two convictions from Lowndes County Circuit Court. He was convicted in March 2000 for grand larceny and sentenced to five years. He was paroled in October 2002, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections. In May 2007, Shirley was convicted of possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to eight years in prison but was released in August 2011.
He is currently in the custody of the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center awaiting bond. His court date has not yet been set.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
2. Lowndes Co.: A long road to a license COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Palmer Home works to free modern slaves COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY