Man pleads guilty to 2012 national park assault

Apr. 22, 2014 @ 11:18 PM

William E. Seevers, 48, the man arrested this February for the June 2012 attempted rape and murder of a woman in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder and one count of aggravated sexual abuse by force when he appeared in U.S. District Court on Monday.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Seevers in December 2013 alleging that he'd committed the 2012 crime, in which a victim was sexually assaulted and stabbed in the neck with a knife. 

"Seevers engaged in sexual activity with the individual by use of force and placing her in fear of death by holding her at knife point and stabbing and punching her when she attempted to flee from him," U.S. Attorney William C. Killian's office said in a press release.

Prior to the plea, Seevers was facing a three-count indictment — two counts of aggravated sexual abuse by force and one count of attempted murder.

Seevers was charged by local officials while serving time in Alabama at the Fountain Correctional Facility in Altmore. He was there after a conviction for receiving stolen property. He'd been sentenced to serve five years, but was due for release on good behavior on April 2, according to Alabama Department of Corrections records.

The records indicate Seevers started serving his sentence in Alabama just a few weeks after the assault in the national park.

Sentencing in the local case has been set for 2 p.m., Aug. 21, before Thomas Varlan, U.S. District Court Judge.