Carleous Clay, 35, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, July 10, to kidnapping, attempted murder and using fire to commit a felony. Originally, Clay was charged with attempted murder, using fire to commit a felony, carjacking, bank robbery, attempted bank robbery, robbery, attempted robbery and transporting a stolen vehicle in interstate commerce.
On Sept. 17, 2015, Clay broke into a woman’s home in Lansing, Illinois. According to court records, he took several valuable items from the home and carried them away. When he came back to the same house later that night, the homeowner was entering the home with groceries. Clay threatened the woman with a hammer, then abducted the woman and drove her car to an ATM in Munster, Indiana.
He used the woman’s identification number to withdraw $140 from her bank account, and tried to withdraw money from another bank. Clay then forced the victim into the trunk of her car with her groceries and drove the car to an empty parking lot in Burns Harbor, Indiana, and raped the woman in the back seat of her car. After, Clay tried to force the woman back into the trunk, but when she resisted, he strangled her until she passed out.
Hearing the victim still breathing and gagging, Clay used lighter fluid to set her on fire in an attempt to kill her. The woman survived, but “suffered permanent and life-threatening bodily injuries,” court documents show. He left the woman alongside the road and took her car and drove from Indiana to Holland.
The stolen vehicle was found at Bay Pointe Apartments in Holland, where police said Clay lived as recently as three months before committing the crimes against the Chicago woman.
Clay is also a former resident of West Olive and had multiple encounters with police from 2000-09. These include larceny, assault/obstruction of an officer, attempting to assault/obstruct an officer, felony firearms, attempted escape while awaiting a felony trial, stealing a financial transaction device and several parole violations.
At the time of his Holland arrest, Clay was out on parole for an assault with intent to rob while armed out of Kent County.
Along with the crimes related to the 2015 incident, Clay admitted to attacking a female case manager while in jail in Chicago in April 2017. The case manager was pushed to the floor and Clay took her keys, locking himself inside the case manager’s office with the victim. He put a homemade knife to the case manager’s throat and threatened to kill her.
Clay will be sentenced in Chicago on Oct. 9 by Judge Virginia Kendall. He is facing up to life in federal prison.