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Man accused of throwing chemicals at woman who turned down marriage proposal

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Derek Lee Rawls is being held on a $750,000 bond after officials said he allegedly threw liquid drain cleaner at a woman who turned down his marriage proposal.

WFSB reports that on Wednesday, Rawls faced a judge after the incident happened over the weekend.

Rawls had two restraining orders, designed to protect the victim from him, but it turns out he was living right upstairs from her.

Police said a woman who used to date Rawls now has burns to her face, neck, chest and arms after the 50-year-old allegedly threw a cup of liquid drain cleaner at her.

Rawls reportedly showed up at her work, asking her to marry him.

According to court documents, the woman opened the door and “Mr. Rawls was standing in front of the door with a red solo cup filled with liquid. Mr. Rawls began to mumble and told her she would regret not speaking to him.”

“What makes this case even worse is that, the suspect in this, apparently turned the water service off to the house. I could only imagine it’s a pre-meditated move to prevent this woman from being able to wash this from her body,” said New Haven Police Officer David Hartman.

Rawls has quite a criminal history, including assault, robbery, and unlawful restraint charges.

While Rawls gave police a different address, neighbors said he was actually living in the apartment just one floor above the victim.

Rawls was charged with violating a restraining order. He had two restraining orders involving the victim, both ordering him not to assault, stalk, or harass the woman.

In court on Wednesday, a woman who identified herself as Rawls’ aunt said her nephew and the victim had what she described as a “love-hate relationship,” on and off for years.

Rawls is expected to appear in court next month. If he does make bail, he and his family are not to have any contact with the victim. He is to stay away from her neighborhood and he will also be on GPS monitoring and house arrest. He is only allowed to go to court, work, or doctor’s appointments.

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