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An Arizona man recorded videos of himself brutally beating his wife in front of their special-needs son who pleaded for him to stop, authorities said.
Richard Ellsworth, 51, of Cordes Lakes, is facing charges of kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted first-degree murder for allegedly beating his wife so badly in October that a witness said her disfigured face didn’t “look human,” the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.
“The victim was discovered in this condition by the landlady and her son-in-law,” deputies said in a statement. “They had come up from Phoenix to collect late rent.”
The landlady told Ellsworth his wife needed medical help, prompting him to reply that she did not and to mind her own business. The pair then called 911, authorities said.
Deputies found Ellsworth’s 18-year-old son, who has special needs, loading a car in preparation for a trip with his father. Ellsworth’s wife was discovered inside the home with serious injuries to her arms and face – and with her stockings pulled down to her knees, sheriff officials said.
“At the time, Richard claimed his wife had returned home in that condition and suggested the injuries were caused by her ‘boyfriend’ with whom he claimed she was having an affair,” deputies said.
Ellsworth, who was initially arrested on domestic violence charges, was then seen on cellphone videos shot by his son and himself depicting “horrific attacks” on his wife, including repeated blows to the face and kicking her body with steel-toed construction boots as she and his son begged for him to stop, authorities said.
Other videos shot by Ellsworth also allegedly showed him beating his wife over the course of several hours and threatening to kill both her and the couple’s son.
“There is a history of domestic violence in the marriage and in keeping with the previous acts of domestic violence the victim gave various stories as to how she sustained her injuries and has been reluctant to assist with prosecution,” deputies said.
Neighbors, meanwhile, told investigators Ellsworth regularly fought with his wife, sometimes yelling and assaulting her, authorities said.
Detectives met with Ellsworth’s wife on Oct. 6 at a hospital, where she was being treated for injuries including multiple facial fractures, a traumatic brain injury and several broken ribs.
Authorities said they delayed announcing the arrest of Ellsworth — who remains held without bond ahead of trial — in order to wrap up an extensive investigation in the case. He’s also accused of sexually assaulting both his wife and his son, deputies said.
“We are now releasing this information to show such appalling actions have severe consequences and to inform victims of domestic violence the need to come forward and put a stop to the abuse before it reaches this level,” sheriff officials said.
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