Tempe police seek suspect in attempted murder

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Lester Stanley Austin III By Jennifer Thomas Lester Stanley Austin III By Jennifer Thomas
Photo of similar vehicle By Jennifer Thomas Photo of similar vehicle By Jennifer Thomas

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Tempe Police Department is asking for the public's help to locate a man who is accused of choking a woman and threatening her with a knife.

Lester Stanley Austin III, 34, is described as a black male, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 250 pounds, with brown eyes and a black short fade-style haircut. He has tattoos on both arms and his chest. He also has a scar on his right side from his back to his abdomen. 

At approximately noon Monday, the victim met Austin and another acquaintance, Michael Eugene Walls, at the Walgreens at Mill Avenue and Broadway Road in Tempe. The three were engaged in a property dispute, according to Sgt. Steve Carbajal.

During the meeting, the woman agreed to take a car ride with the men.

As the vehicle was traveling on the freeway, Austin held a knife to the woman's throat and choked her to the point where she nearly lost consciousness, Carbajal said.

The victim attempted to escape from her attacker by kicking out a window and the driver exited the freeway. The woman jumped from the moving vehicle then ran to a home in the area for help.

On Tuesday, Tempe police detectives located and arrested Walls in Tolleson. He is currently facing charges of kidnapping and aggravated assault.

Austin has not been located and is known to make frequent trips between Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

The vehicle is described as a 2002 shiny purple two-door Chevrolet Monte Carlo with Arizona plate 352-ZEG.

Anyone with any information regarding Austin's current whereabouts or the location of the vehicle is asked to call the Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.