Downtown Mobile attempted rape suspect granted bond

(IMAGE: Mobile Jail ) Downtown Mobile attempted rape suspect granted bond

A judge says it’s his constitutional right. Today the man accused of brutally beating a woman and attempting to rape her in the RSA parking tower was granted bond.

The preliminary hearing got off to a rocky start with the defendant, Douglas Dunson, uttering remarks several times to the judge, court deputy and detective testifying before the court.

At one point, Dunson uttered that he wanted to plead guilty. However, he pleaded not guilty at his last appearance.

“I think he's definitely going to be evaluated in some time in the future,” Defense attorney Richard Foreman said.

This is Dunson's third appearance since the brutal RSA attack. Another judge threw him out the first time and revoked his bond when he caused a scene then.

Wednesday, Judge Bob Sherling granted and set Dunson's bond at $40,000 with a $4,500 cash component.

“I told the court ‘I respectfully disagree’ and we have a different interpretation of what the case law is, but he's the judge and that's his call,” Assistant District Attorney Tandice Hogan said.

The call came minutes after a sex crime detective's testimony that painted a gut-wrenching picture of what happened the morning of the attack.

The detective says the attacker came from between two cars, asking for money. A denial ended with an innocent victim beaten repeatedly with a 2 x 2 board.

The testimony only got worse from there as he went into the attempted rape, information too graphic for TV.

The detective said police used surveillance footage from outside the garage and victim and witness statements to help identify Dunson as the suspect.

They put a name to his face by using mug shots from his lengthy criminal file, including sex crime charges just days leading up to this latest attack.

When NBC 15 News asked Dunson’s court-appointed attorney if he believes it is safe to have his client on the streets given his lengthy criminal history, he stated the following:

“I'm not going to comment on that,” Foreman said, adding, “everyone, unless it's a capital offense, is entitled to a bond. He's entitled to a bond. He's not going to be able to make it, more than likely.”

“The purpose of a bond is to protect the community and to hold the defendant accountable since we're pending these criminal cases,” Hogan said.

Mobile’s Public Safety Director, James Barber, says this attack sent a shock through the downtown, causing many people to question if they are safe in the community.

“There was a heightened sense of fear in the downtown area because this was an unusual attack,” Barber said, adding, “it's broad daylight during business hours and it's in a busy parking garage.”

To protect the community, police stepped up patrols downtown immediately after the attack.

“But even since then, there's been a heightened approach of enforcement,” Barber said. “More enforcement in the downtown area for nuisance types of complaints, such as panhandling, public lewdness, urinating in public and stuff like that.”

Barber showed us showing, one month later, there's been 26 misdemeanor arrests and one felony all on the downtown streets.

As for ground zero, the privately owned and run RSA parking garage, police stepped in to help step up their security measures.

One day after the attack, NBC 15 crews managed to walk right into the garage with a camera and walked all along the bottom floor without any security personnel approaching them.

We brought this up to Barber, who says measures have improved since then.

“They have stepped it up. The security has increased, private security. They have roving patrols as well as posted and there are video surveillance systems in that parking garage.”

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