A preliminary hearing for four people accused of beating a woman and setting her on fire after luring her to the city through a chat room has been continued until May 9, according to a press release from the District Attorney’s office.
Tamara Rhoades, 24, her husband Michael Rhoades, 34, and their reported sexual partner, Steven Mills, 22, are charged with attempted murder, conspiracy, false imprisonment, arson and related offenses. A relative, 14, is also charged in connection with the Feb. 21 incident.
Tamara Rhoades allegedly lured the 20-year-old woman through a chat line from Pittsburgh to the apartment the four shared on North 23rd Street about two years ago. The woman, who reportedly had a sexual relationship with the three adults, was regularly beaten and intimidated into staying, according to spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson.
The Rhoades and Mills allegedly beat the woman on Feb. 21, then poured flammable liquid on her and lit her on fire. She was able to put out the flames but sustained severe burns. The defendants then took her to a bus station and put her on a bus back to Pittsburgh, Jamerson said.
The Rhoades are facing additional charges for assaulting a second woman who police found Feb. 22 while executing a search warrant on the apartment. That victim, 21, was also enticed to stay at the apartment through a chat line and was then beaten and held against her will, according to the District Attorney’s office.