Suspect accused of kidnapping woman at Hillside Park sentenced to 50 years in prison

Lennel Choice, 43, of Tyler (Courtesy of Smith County Judicial Records)

A 43-year-old Tyler man accused of assaulting a woman and forcing her into a Tyler park was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in prison.

Lennel Choice, 43, of Tyler, was charged with kidnapping, a third-degree felony. On Feb. 29, a 32-year-old female victim told officers she was followed on foot to Hillside Park by an unknown man who grabbed her and forced her against her will toward the creek that runs through the park.

In an arrest warrant affidavit released in March, the victim stated that when she entered the park, Choice grabbed her by the waist from behind and covered her mouth. The victim further stated that he attempted to drag her toward the creek.

The victim also said she thought the suspect was turning to remove his pants and that Choice kept pulling at her pants, according to the affidavit.

As he tried to drag her past the baseball fields, the victim said she yelled for help.

Three witnesses in the park heard her yelling and came to her aid, as well as an acquaintance she had seen outside the park. The suspect then fled into nearby woods, according to the affidavit.

The Tyler Police Department said witnesses who were in the park notified them that a female was in trouble. Officers searched the area and located the suspect, who attempted to run from them.

The man, later identified as Choice, was placedĀ under arrest on site for possession of marijuana and evading police, and was taken to the Smith County Jail.

- Augusta Robinson

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