DECATUR – John K. Woodruff, a 59-year-old Decatur man who previously served a prison term for murdering an elderly woman, is back in custody after he allegedly endangered a couple by driving a truck toward them in a parking lot.

A 41-year-old woman reported to police that she was walking with a 51-year-old man, after leaving a relative's residence in the 3700 block of East William Street Road, when she saw a red pickup truck park nearby on the night of Jan. 20.

She recognized Woodruff, who exited from the truck and walked toward the residence.

When she yelled to Woodruff, “What are you doing?,” he responded by telling the couple, “You two shut the (expletive) up,” said a probable cause affidavit by Decatur patrol officer James Pinney.

As the woman and man walked across a parking lot, the woman saw Woodruff get back into his truck.

He then “drove toward her and (the man.)” Woodruff “got within 3 to 4 feet of them, and they were able to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by John,” the woman told police.

The man told police a similar story. He said “John tried to run him and (the woman) over in the parking lot,” adding that “John had no reason to be in the empty parking lot other than to mess with him and (the woman).”

He said he knew Woodruff “from previous encounters” and recognized him as the driver of the truck.

Officers located Woodruff a short time later, at 35th Court, about a half mile away from the incident scene, as he walked toward the red truck.

A check of the law enforcement database showed that the female victim had an active order of protection against him.

Woodruff was arrested, booked into the Macon County Jail, and arraigned on two felony charges: violation of an order of protection with a prior domestic battery conviction and aggravated assault. He was also issued traffic citations for reckless driving and driving while his license was suspended.

He is free on bond pending his preliminary hearing Feb. 15.

Woodruff was previously convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery, home invasion and burglary, in connection with a series of home invasions in 1979, including one in which a 77-year-old woman was murdered in the 300 block of East Central Avenue, on the city's near-north side. He was sentenced to 65 years in prison, including 35 years for the murder.

After his release, he served a two-year prison term for aggravated battery in a 2005 case. Woodruff returned to prison in 2010 for two five-year sentences for convictions of aggravated battery/great bodily harm and aggravated domestic battery.

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Staff Writer

Staff Writer for the Herald & Review.