Updated: Oct 6, 2021
By Joe Johnson
An Athens man has been formally accused of entering the home of a woman who had broken off relations with him and beating her, choking her and sticking a gun to her head.
Reco Bernard Echols, 44, of Michele Drive was charged with home invasion, false imprisonment, two counts of aggravated assault, stalking, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and simple battery, according to the accusation filed Sept. 30 by the DA’s office in Clarke County Superior Court.
According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, the incident occurred on June 9 when Echols and another man entered the 20-year-old victim’s apartment through a door she forgot to lock.
The woman reportedly told police that she had not dated Echols, but had been “talking” to him for several days before breaking off the relationship.
The woman told the men they were not allowed in her home and she pushed them toward the door, according to the report, which noted that after the man she did not know left, Echols turned around and pushed her on a couch where he sat on her, choked her and also kicked her in the ribs. The woman said that she could not breathe while Echols had his hand on her neck and applied pressure, according to the report, which noted that the offender pulled braids from the victim’s hair.
The woman told police that she tried leaving the apartment, but Echols pulled her back from the door and closed it, at which time she was able to get her phone in an attempt to call her mother, according to the report.
When the woman reportedly saw Echols with his hand on a gun, she grabbed a knife, at which time Echols pointed the gun at her head and said, “You’re my wife” and “If I can’t have you no one can have you.”
Echols fled from the apartment when the victim told him that her mother was calling the police, the report noted.
The victim explained to officers that in the several days prior to the assault Echols had continuously harassed her and she showed them photos of the suspect sitting outside her apartment as she returned home, and also a video of Echols trying to break into her apartment with a crowbar, according to the report, which also noted the woman claimed that Echols walked into her apartment several times and beat her.
Echols was arrested on warrants on July 1, and has been detained without bail at the county jail ever since.
A date for his arraignment on the accusation was not immediately scheduled.
Anyone who is in an abusive relationship can seek advice and services by calling Project Safe’s 24-hour hotline at (706) 543-3331, or by visiting http://www.project-safe.org.