by: Alison Grande Updated:SEATTLE —
A violent rapist attacked a 60-year-old woman in a hospital bathroom, and was captured after a friend heard her screams for help.
Gregory Walton, 38, who was wanted by the King County Sheriff's Office for failing to register as a sex offender after his release from prison, is now in custody.
If Walton is convicted of the assault it will be his third strike – and that will land him in prison for the rest of his life.
Police said the attack happened about 5 p.m. Nov. 9 inside a women's restroom at Harborview Medical Center. Seattle police did not discuss the case until Thursday.
The victim’s name is Cindy, and she asked not to have her full name used. The Bainbridge Island resident told KIRO 7 she was visiting a friend Saturday at Harborview, and when she went into a restroom it was empty
When she came out of the stall, Walton was standing there. The attack happened immediately.
“When he got me by the throat and started pushing me backwards, then I thought he’s going to rape me, “Cindy said.
She said Walton then forced her back into the bathroom stall.
“He slammed me against the wall and started bearing down,” Cindy said. “I thought ‘He’s going to kill me, and I’m going to scream until he does.’”
Thankfully her friend, Michael Lazzaretti, was in the men’s restroom next door and heard her screams.
“I knew I had to save her,” said Lazzaretti, who spent three decades as a corrections officer at the King County Jail.
“I grabbed him and he wouldn’t let go, so I took my right arm and smashed it on his arms,” Lazzaretti said. “Then grabbed him around the neck in the same motion and dragged him out of the stall.”
He held down Walton until police arrived.
“It could have been substantially worse if he had not come to her aid so quickly, “Seattle Police Detective Jeff Kappel said.
Walton was charged Thursday with failing to register as a sex offender. In 1996, he was convicted of breaking into a home and sexually assaulting her at knifepoint. In 2004 he was convicted of assaulting a girlfriend. Walton has been convicted of felony failing to register as a sex offender four separate times in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2010.
According to charging documents Walton told police he’d been drinking Tequila and smoking cigarettes laced with the drug PCP. Walton said he didn’t really remember what happened, police said.
Cindy was treated for her injuries at Harborview. Walton was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of assault, he was charged Thursday. Walton is being held in lieu of $1 million bond.
Cindy is relieved Walton is in jail, “Otherwise he might have gone out and done this to many, many other women and gotten away with it.”
Walton’s arraignment, where he’ll enter a plea, is scheduled for Nov. 27.