The executive board of the Broward County Republicans recently found out that their newly-elected secretary, 28-year-old Rupert Tarsey, used to go by a different name: Rupert Ditsworth. And Rupert Ditsworth, unfortunately, was charged with attempted murder in 2007 for allegedly beating a female classmate with a hammer at least 40 times, splitting her skull open.
“We were blindsided,” local GOP chairman Bob Sutton told the Miami Herald. “He’s a member of the Knights of Columbus, for Christ’s sake. And he came highly recommended by the former chair. We had no idea what his background is. We want him out but he is refusing to resign. He deceived us. It looks like he even used a reputation management firm to make sure we wouldn’t find out who he is.”
According to reports, in 2007, while a student at Harvard-Westlake prep school in Beverly Hills, Tarsey allegedly drove classmate Elizabeth Barcay to a Jamba Juice and eventually started hitting her over the head with a claw hammer, then pulled her out of the car while choking her and drove away. From a Los Angeles Times report at the time, according to Barcay’s mother:
As police were called, the boy got out of the car, went to the passenger side, pulled the girl from the car by her hair and continued the assault until the hammer broke. He then began to choke her. To save her life, she bit his finger. He screamed and said “I’m done.”
The boy got back in the car and sped off, said the witness, who asked to remain anonymous, fearing reprisal. As the girl sought help, her shattered leg gave way, and she collapsed in the street.
Barcay reportedly suffered injuries in her head, face and legs, and Tarsey was reportedly taken to a psychiatric facility. The case was eventually tried in adult court, and Tarsey told the Herald that he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor, claiming self-defense (the Herald notes that he is 6'2").
Tarsey went on to get married, have children, and volunteer on the Trump campaign. He claims he started going by his mother’s maiden name because he was estranged from his father, not to hide his identity.
“It’s not the charges that matter, it’s what happens in court,” he told the Herald. He claimed that “This whole thing”—meaning, I suppose, the local GOP finding out that he has a gruesome criminal record—“is in retaliation for my speaking out against Bob [Sutton],” Tarsey told the Herald.