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Valley Center Man Arrested in Alleged Rape, Assault : Crime: Suspect accused of terrorizing girlfriend, including shooting potato off her head.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 28-year-old Valley Center man who allegedly used a rifle to shoot a potato off his girlfriend’s head and then shot a pumpkin out of her hands was arraigned Friday in Vista Municipal Court on counts of rape, assault and other charges.

The suspect, Michael Joseph McSorley, pleaded not guilty to 15 felony counts, including three counts of forcible oral copulation, sodomy, forcible rape, seven counts of assault with a rifle, battery with serious bodily injury, bodily injury to a co-habitant and false imprisonment by violence.

Deputy Dist. Atty Laura Tanney said that during 90 minutes of terror Tuesday afternoon, the victim was shot once with the rifle while she was on the floor and the suspect was flailing the weapon around, over her. The bullet entered her hand, causing serious nerve damage, and lodged in her hip.

The victim, identified only as McSorley’s live-in girlfriend in her 20s, was found by neighbors and taken to the Valley Center Fire Department, from where she was taken to Palomar Medical Center for treatment.

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“We’re alleging that during an hour-and-a-half episode at the (couple’s) home, the defendant forced the girlfriend to orally copulate him, beat her up, sodomized her, raped her, and then made her lie on the floor while he shot a rifle over her head at least four times,” Tanney said.

“Then he had her put a potato onto her head and shot it it off her, then made her hold a pumpkin in her hand, and shot it.

“He then stuck the rifle in her mouth and pulled the trigger--but it was empty.”

It was unclear, she said, whether he knew the gun was not loaded at that moment, and while attempted-murder charges were not filed, the investigation is continuing.

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“Then, as she was lying on the floor, he waved the gun around and fired it, and it went through her hand and into her hip,” Tanney said.

The attack, she said, caused the victim “utter terror.”

It was unclear what sparked the incident, Tanney said.

Vista Municipal Court Presiding Judge David Ryan ordered McSorley held on $250,000 bail and set his preliminary hearing for Dec. 30.

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