- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - A former Texas death row inmate who was released more than 30 years ago is accused of keeping a homeless woman in his home in western Colorado for months and repeatedly raping her.

Court documents say Claude Wilkerson sometimes kept the woman chained up with the help of a runaway teenager who also lived in his home in the ranching community of Gateway, about 50 miles southwest of Grand Junction, The Daily Sentinel reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/1ppa6LP ).

The runaway tipped off authorities, who said the woman appeared reluctant to talk and begged deputies to arrest her on a minor warrant when they went to Wilkerson’s home on Feb. 20.

After Mesa County sheriff’s investigators took the woman from the home, she told them she met Wilkerson in October and that he offered to let her stay with him and pay her for doing yard work and house cleaning but he never gave her any money, according to an affidavit justifying Wilkerson’s arrest.

She told investigators she rarely was allowed to leave the house and had trouble remembering dates during the time she lived in the house. She said Wilkerson often told her that he was a shaman and a serial killer.

Wilkerson is being represented by the public defender’s office, which did not return a call seeking comment. He was convicted in the death of a person during the robbery of a Texas jewelry store but freed in 1983 after a judge threw out his confession.

In the Colorado case, Wilkerson was charged Monday with 10 felony and misdemeanor counts, including two counts of first-degree kidnapping and four counts of sexual assault.

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Information from: The Daily Sentinel, http://www.gjsentinel.com

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