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It began as a routine jog on a well-traveled back road. It ended with the jogger abducted, assaulted and running away from her kidnapper after he threatened to shoot her.

The assailant, Stephen Ray Carpenter, 29, of Townsend pleaded no contest in Northampton Circuit Court to a series of crimes in connection with the incident, which jolted the community and prompted an outpouring of support for the victim.

Carpenter pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder, strangulation, abduction with an attempt to defile and other charges in the kidnapping and beating of 22-year-old Paige Eminhizer on Oct. 24.

He pleaded guilty to four other charges including DUI and possession of cocaine. He entered into a plea agreement with the commonwealth in which several other charges were dismissed in exchange for the guilty pleas.

'The victim has an ongoing effect from this incident,' said Commonwealth's Attorney Bruce Jones.

After finishing her work day at an organic farm last August, Eminhizer, a member of the National Guard, changed into her running clothes. As she jogged along Sunnyside Road near her home in Oyster, a slow-moving car struck her and knocked her to the ground.

She got to her feet and was assessing her injuries when the driver got out of the car and asked if she was OK, said Jones.

'She was very startled,' he said.

The man then attacked her, repeatedly striking her in the head with what she thought was a crowbar but later found out was a shotgun.

The attack ended momentarily as he pushed the 5 foot, 1 inch, 115-pound woman through the driver's side door into the front passenger seat of his car.

Pleading with attacker

He began to drive north, Jones said. Realizing she was badly injured, Eminhizer pleaded with Carpenter to take her to the hospital. She pulled out her cellphone saying she would call her mother to meet her there. He grabbed her phone from her, Jones said.

He told her he would let her of the car and pulled to the side of the road. But, as she prepared to exit, he grabbed her by her hair and pulled her back into the car.

He grabbed her face with his two hands and twisted her head around in an apparent attempt to snap her neck. She tried to get away from him. He grabbed her again and began choking her until she almost blacked out, she said.

At that point, Jones says she told Carpenter, 'I'll be good.'

She stopped trying to get away and decided to observe her attacker and his vehicle. She saw a hunting bow in the car and tried to talk to him about his interest in hunting, Jones said.

As he pulled onto Indian Walk Road, Eminhizer noticed her door was not shut completely and attempted to get out of the car. She and Carpenter struggled over a shotgun.

She was once pulled back into the car while trying to hold onto the gun but then made her escape. Jones said she testified that Carpenter shouted after her, 'I am going to shoot you.'

Hearing that, she began to run toward the woods in a zigzag pattern in an attempt to save herself.

As she got into the woods, she said she saw her assailant's car go south on Seaside Road. She was afraid he would return for her and wanted to get as far away as possible. She heard goats bleating and ran toward the sound.

She found a trailer there and knocked but no one was home. She heard the sound of farm equipment and ran toward the sound. She came to a road and flagged down a car. The woman inside refused to let her into the car but called 911.

Another woman in a van stopped and let her into her car. That woman called both 911 and the woman's mother.

Northampton County Sheriff's Office Lt. Michelle Hallett testified that she interviewed Eminhizer at the hospital shortly after she arrived there by ambulance. She spoke from the witness stand about the young woman's horrific injuries.

Badly injured

She said the victim had numerous very deep head wounds that bled profusely, a deep laceration under her left eye, as well as a fractured orbital socket.

Her right arm was broken and one hand so swollen, her knuckles were no longer defined. Her hip and back areas were bruised from being struck by the car and she had injuries to her neck and ear from the attempted strangulation.

Her description of he assailant and his vehicle was so complete that Carpenter was identified right away. He was arrested. More information about the attack was gathered after he was incarcerated.

Officers listened to his telephone calls and talked to his cellmates.

Carpenter told them he had the shotgun in the car and used it to beat his victim. He said he intended to kill her. Carpenter, who is a very tall and large man, and the petite young woman did not know each other.

Jones praised her for her strength and stamina that led to her survival. He said she was in excellent physical shape and the 'spot on' observations she made of her attacker led to his arrest.

The firearm was never recovered, nor was her cellphone, but one of his friends confirmed he had recently bought a 12-gauge shotgun that he kept in his car. When the car was recovered, it appeared someone had attempted to clean it up, though bloodstains belonging to the victim were found on the dashboard and throughout the front part of the car.

After hearing from Jones and two officers, Judge W. Revell Lewis III accepted the plea agreement and ordered that a presentence investigation report be prepared. Carpenter will remain in jail until his sentencing.

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