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Richland County person-of-interest's probation modified before woman's death

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RICHLAND COUNTY (WKOW) -- State department of corrections officials say a person-of-interest in a Richland County woman's fatal beating had his probation rules modified shortly before her death, but the changes did not involve a no contact order with the woman.

DOC spokesperson Jeff Grothman says 29-year old Andrew Weeden was ordered to have no contact with two individuals after Weeden fought with them at a Town of Orion home Jan. 20.  Richland County Sheriff's department officials arrested Weeden on a tentative disorderly conduct charge, but no criminal charge was lodged against him.  Richland County District Attorney Jennifer Harper declines comment on the lack of a charge.

Authorities say the body of 32-year old Rachael Pauls was found Saturday at the Town of Orion home.  A search warrant affidavit states Pauls died of excessive blood loss after suffering bruises to her face, broken ribs, and a laceration to her abdomen.

Officials say Weeden was arrested Saturday after being tracked and captured near the home.  The affidavit states Weeden admits to punching Pauls, but only after she came at him with a knife.

Weeden is on probation after serving prison time for felony battery.   He is jailed on suspicion of violating his probation.

Weeden was jailed for four days after his January arrest on probation violation suspicion.  A law enforcement source says the January incident did not involve violence by Weeden against Pauls.

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