Accused murderer Richard Hooten speaks out - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Accused murderer Richard Hooten speaks out

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- For the first time, we're hearing from the accused murderer who admitted to police he raped, killed, and tried to cover up the death of 17-year-old Tara Willenborg.

Richard Hooten kept saying yesterday he wanted to tell his story -- and today, he did.

WDRB's Valerie Chinn described Hooten as "calm, and matter-of-fact" as he spoke about raping four or five women, with Willenborg being the latest.  He says he forced himself on her and sexually assaulted her.  He says while having sex with her, she stopped breathing after he choked her with both hands. 

"I just lost it in my head, lost control," he said.  "I was having sex with her, anxiety on me.  I had my hands around her throat.  I kept going and going.  I didn't know how strong I was, really putting pressure on her.  I was choking her." 

That's when Hooten says he started CPR, but after he realized she was dead, he took her work apron and wrapped it around her neck to make it look like she had committed suicide.

Hooten said it was a crime of opportunity, and he doesn't know why he rapes women.  When asked, "What do you remember her saying to you?" he responded, "She just said, just don't, you know?  Just leave."

When asked how we can know he really is remorseful, Hooten answered, "Well, I can tell you what I say, because I am, it's the first time I did that to anyone."

The next question was how he could kill a person and remain so calm.  His response:  "I don't know.  I wasn't calm.  I was trying to figure out what I was going to do because I did a terrible crime."

Hooten is a non-compliant sex offender police had been looking for.

He is charged with murder, rape, criminal deviate conduct, abuse of a corpse, and being a habitual offender.  The Clark County Prosecutor says he'll decide in the next two weeks if Hooten will face the death penalty. Hooten tells us he knows he needs help and is fine with getting the death penalty.

The Louisville Metro Police Department also says its sex crimes unit has been investigating Hooten since January, for a crime in Louisville.

The 49-year-old admits that Willenborg was not his first victim. He says he started raping women when he was in his 20's.

Chinn asked, "Can you put a number on how many people you have raped?" Hooten says, "Maybe four to five."  Hooten says he raped a 40-50-year-old woman behind O'Dolly's Restaurant and Lounge in early January.

The business co-owners say he was a regular who went by a different name and seemed quiet.  He says he's been in prison already three times and spent about a third of his life behind bars.

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