The man who attacked a woman in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park almost two years ago has been indicted by a grand jury.
William E. Seevers,48, was indicted in December by a federal grand jury on charges of attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault by force. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court on Thursday.
Friday, 10News learned Seveers has actually been in prison on an unrelated charge since a few days after investigators say he committed the crime.
Authorities have been searching for the suspect in that attack that happened on the Gatlinburg trail inside the park in June 2012. A 44-year-old woman said a man sexually assaulted her then stabbed her multiple times before running off. Injured, she managed to make it back to the road where she flagged down a passing car for help.
According to the indictment against Seevers, he held the woman at knife point while he sexually assaulted her, then stabbed her in the neck and punched her as she tried to get away.
The Pelham, Alabama Police Department said they arrested Seevers for driving a stolen car just four days after the woman was stabbed in June 2012. Police said employees of a Dollar General saw him shoplifting and called police. The officers discovered the stolen car and charged him with "recovering stolen property."
The Alabama Department of Corrections said he was sentenced to five years in July 2012. He is still serving that sentence but is now in federal custody.
If convicted of attempted murder and two counts of sexual assault, Seevers could face two terms of life in prison plus an additional 20 years.
A spokesperson for the GSMNP said they could not comment on an ongoing case, but Chief Ranger Clay Jordan released this statement, "The National Park Service has put a great deal of effort into the investigation of this case. We are very pleased to see it advance to prosecution."