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Posted: October 24, 2017

Tweets help convict man who attacked, kidnapped girlfriend

By Veronica Waters

Marietta, GA —

*Tweets within article contain explicit language*

A 31-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison after he attacked and kidnapped the girlfriend who wanted to break up with him--and prosecutors used his own tweets to help convict him. 

Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds announced the verdict in a four-day trial after a jury deliberated for just two hours before they convicted Orlando Mickey Rhinehart of kidnapping with bodily injury and two counts of battery.

Assistant District Attorney Julianna Peterson says the incident in early February 2017 began when Rhinehart, snooping through the woman's cell phone as she took a shower, saw proof that she wanted to break up with him.

"Honestly, talking about how badly Mr. Rhinehart treated her," says Peterson. "And at that point, really, the nightmare for her began. He began viciously beating her, tearing out her hair, slapping her, slamming her against the wall, spitting in her face."

 Rhinehart forced the victim into her car and locked the doors, then sped through Marietta. As he drove, he called a friend to tell him he was planning to bring the woman over so others could beat her, and then said he didn't know what he was going to do with her after that.

"The victim in the case realized that he was going to kill her if she didn't get out of that car," says Peterson. 

 When the couple reached an area with which the woman was familiar--near the Big Chicken--the woman, who had slowly moved her braids over to her right side so Rhinehart couldn't use them to grab her, and stealthily unbuckled her seat belt--jumped out of the moving car onto a busy Cobb Parkway. She injured her legs and head, but got up and ran to the Sam's Club, where employees and a Cobb County deputy helped get her an ambulance.

 The victim's story was backed up by Rhinehart's own words on Twitter. 

"We were able to just pore over all of those tweets, and honestly, our jaws dropped when we saw he just laid it out for us," says Peterson. She says Rhinehart detailed how he'd forced the woman into the car, the threatening conversation he had with a friend, the way the woman jumped out of a speeding car, and his intention to leave her in the woods. He even took the stand in his own defense, but was unable to convince the jury that the tweets were just a joke. 

"I don't think the jury was really able to get past his own testimony against himself, where he's so powerfully getting onto Twitter, and really just detailing his violent actions." 

Immediately after the verdict, Cobb Superior Court Judge Ann Harris sentenced Rhinehart to life in prison. Peterson says the victim has moved on and is healing. 

"She was actually just telling me the other day that she's finally able to sleep again," says Peterson. 

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