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Man arrested in Central Park attack on woman, 73

In this undated photo provided by NBC 4 New York, David Albert Mitchell, is shown. New York City Police arrested Mitchell Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 on charges that he brutally raped a 73-year-old woman in New York’s Central Park on Wednesday, Sept. 12. The
In this undated photo provided by NBC 4 New York, David Albert Mitchell, is shown. New York City Police arrested Mitchell Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 on charges that he brutally raped a 73-year-old woman in New York’s Central Park on Wednesday, Sept. 12. The woman was found by a bird watcher who found badly beaten near the section of the park known as “Strawberry Fields,” which was dedicated to the memory of slain Beatle John Lennon.
NBC 4 New York) MANDATORY CREDIT; ONLINE OUT; NO SALES; TV OUT, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Relatives say a heavily tattooed homeless man accused of raping a 73-year-old birdwatcher in Central Park has spent most of his life in and out of jail and they're not surprised by his latest brush with the law.

Relatives in Virginia describe 42-year-old David Albert Mitchell as a heavy drinker.

Sister-in-law and onetime girlfriend Saretta Mitchell calls him a "sick individual." She said Thursday he was arrested in 2003 after dragging her out of her home in a drunken rage.

Records show he was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to an abduction charge.

Three rookie police officers took him into custody Wednesday night in Manhattan near where the birdwatcher says he attacked her.

He was arrested on rape and other charges. He said nothing as he was being taken to court but spat at reporters.

Associated Press writers Kiley Armstrong contributed to this report.