Romeo and Juliet were going to run off together from a Sonic Drive-In.
Despite a court order and her stay in the hospital—after he allegedly kidnapped, beat, and raped her—the two troubled lovers planned to escape Parsons, Tennessee, with the help of an unsuspecting getaway driver.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
Instead, the 20-year-old Romeo (who already is siring a daughter) was chased deep into the backwoods by friends and family members of his girlfriend, apparently planning to give him a taste of his own medicine.
“‘Is somebody going to fuck him or am I going to have to fuck him?’” the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department investigator said Joseph Doyle, the woman’s father, asked his posse.
Doyle pulled the man’s pants down, according to the sheriff’s report, and proceeded to ram a “tree branch limb” into his anus multiple times.
“The doctor said there was some damage down there,” Special Agent Joseph Hudgins Jr. of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office told The Daily Beast. “But it wasn’t nearly as bad as his face.”
The victim, whom The Daily Beast is not naming, had his left eye socket and cheekbone shattered, which will require reconstructive surgery.
“They had intended to leave the boy to die in the woods,” Special Agent Hudgins said.
Doyle’s attorney told The Daily Beast that his client told him and the authorities “that he was not there.”
While passing in and out of consciousness, the victim managed to claw his way through the swampy thicket to salvation.
“He said he just kept crawling toward the light and found a woman’s porch,” Agent Hudgins said. The homeowner proceeded to call 911.
“If he hadn’t gotten medical attention, then in several hours he would have bled out.”
Before the bloodletting, the night started off innocently.
At around 10 p.m. on Feb. 29, a Doyle family friend named Mason Niece, 36, was behind the wheel of his white GMC truck when he rolled into the Sonic in Parsons, Tennessee. He’d agreed to give Doyle’s oldest daughter a lift, but then he spotted her shady suitor riding shotgun in his friend’s idling black Volvo sedan.
Then and there Niece realized he’d been deceived and that the 19-year-old woman wasn’t just meeting “a friend”—she was secretly planning to run away.
Niece put the truck in reverse and quickly boxed in the Volvo while calling her dad’s phone.
With payback on the brain, Joseph Doyle had allegedly hightailed it to the restaurant after picking up pals David and Cody Parrott.
By now, the young woman at the center of this donnybrook and her lover had both taken off in the Volvo, trying to outrun the vigilantes on Highway 412.
The friend had been a getaway driver long enough, and according to the sheriff’s account, he had a baby on the way and decided to unload his human cargo.
“He said: ‘They want you. They don’t want me. Just jump out. Just get out. I can’t get hurt,’” Agent Hudgins recounted. Doyle’s daughter and her beau popped out on to the shoulder lane while the car “was still moving.”
The lovers booked it to the woods but not fast enough. According to authorities, Doyle, Niece, and the Parrott brothers followed them, clutching bricks.
“He came in and out of consciousness seeing those guys kind of passing him around in a circle kicking him in the ribs, hitting him with bricks,” Agent Hudgins said. “He remembers them carrying him in a vehicle in the same area back deeper into the woods.”
Then came a scene straight out of Deliverance.
“He told the story of Joe [Doyle] assaulting him with a stick. And they continued to beat on him,” Agent Hudgins said.
Niece and Doyle are facing aggravated assault and attempted murder charges, according to Decatur County court officials.
Meanwhile, Cody Parrott is a fugitive and authorities have been told he is “working on a pipeline in Texas.” But they also believe relatives may be shielding him after investigators rounded up his brother David and the other alleged vigilantes.
One longtime family friend isn’t waffling over whether or not Joseph Doyle was there.
“If it was my daughter I would have done the same thing,” Karen Borden, a 27-year-old relative of the young victim told The Daily Beast.
Borden is convinced that the young woman was beaten, locked in a closet for “two weeks,” and barely escaped before she managed to find her father, who took her to the hospital.
“He raped her with a PVC pipe,” Borden, who talked to Doyle’s daughter on Monday, alleged. “She had bruises all over her face and was bleeding on her leg.
“I’ve seen the pictures and I’ve spoken to her—he beat her and raped her and she doesn’t want to be with him,” she said. “She finally got away and got a hold of her daddy and he took her to the hospital.”
But the cops suggest the fear is fake and that Doyle’s eldest daughter is pining to be with her young love.
Just like in Shakespeare’s famous play, the parents had other plans. They were not on board with their puppy love. Not only did they see the young man a cruel rapist, but he was also jobless. “The family wanted to stop it.”
Part of their row was over allegations that her Romeo plied her with meth.
But nobody from the family or authorities dispute that the young woman blames her beau for beating and raping her.
A source close to the case told The Daily Beast Doyle’s daughter “has a meth problem” and despite stints in rehab and despite accusations that she was beaten and raped with a PVC pipe “there was no police action.”
The tale then stretched, the source said, and “She gets her family jacked up on this story and they think he’s been beating her up so they think they can take the law into their own hands,” the source said.
And, the father had telegraphed the revenge on social media. “He put up on his Facebook that he wanted to beat him bad right before this happened. It was premeditated on his part,” Agent Hudgins said.
“It’s like a Romeo-and-Juliet type deal,” Hudgins added. “I think they really love each other and they still claim to love each other.”
The fact that the young couple were set to flee the state didn’t lend much credence to the young woman’s claim that her boyfriend was responsible for kidnapping her and inflicting such a severe rape and beating.
Hudgins said the lovers went to Sonic “so they could leave town together and start their new life in Mississippi.”
The Iuka, Mississippi, native Romeo at the center of this vicious fracas is active on his Facebook page. He lives by the motto: “I got the most amazing wife and the prettiest daughter ever they are my world and could not do nothing with out them Daddy loves yaw Always & Forever an I like to party…” and dons a black dollar sign tattooed on his left eyelid and fancies himself a bit of a rapper.
Amongst the shots of him smooching his baby girl, a good day for the mustachioed crooner is when he’s zeroed out his child custody payments, saying:
“Done with probation this my last recite payed almost 2,000 dollars now broke as fuck glad I got that outta the way!! Child Support due dam!!! Some one help me make some money!!!!”
Whatever happened last month was likely one dad’s disapproval with her daughter’s choice. And after the alleged punishment her boyfriend inflicted on her, the dad’s version of vigilante justice took over, but then had gone awry. “It just escalated pretty quick,” Agent Hudgins said. “I think they originally wanted to scare him and things got out of control.”
The father is expected to be released from jail, his attorney says and is hoping to prove he was not even present when this sickening attack occurred.
“He’s simply a blue-collared guy,” his attorney Ben Harmon said. “He’s worked at a tire shop for five years and has taken care of a bunch of kids… he cares for his daughter very much.
“I know that’s been his main concern—her health and her well-being.”