published Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Chattanooga: Charges, bonds increased in kidnap-rape case

A judge today raised bonds for a man and woman charged in a Feb. 25 rape and kidnapping case.

Shrena Bell, 35, and Carlton Wayne Cameron, a 52-year-old city employee, are charged with multiple counts of aggravated rape, kidnapping and robbery in connection with an attack on a 32-year-old Rock Spring, Ga. woman.

Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Christie Mahn Sell bound the case over to the grand jury and increased aggravated kidnapping charges against both to especially aggravated kidnapping.

She raised Cameron’s bond from $60,000 to $100,000. Cameron had been free on the lower bond but deputies took him back into custody.

Bell already was in custody. Sell increased her bond to $71,000.

The victim told police that Bell held a knife to her throat at a traffic light or stop sign near Warehouse Row and took her to a 16th Avenue home where the pair took turns performing sex acts on her over a six-hour period on Feb. 25.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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hcirehttae said...

The legal rationale for bail bonding is to ensure appearance at trial, not to punish preemptively or "protect the community." That may not make some people happy, however, it is a fundamental underpinning of American democracy. Perhaps we need to change the law if we cannot trust accused suspects to behave themselves if released before trial; perhaps we need to hold trials on routine criminal cases within a couple of weeks, instead of months and years; perhaps people previously convicted of a similar crime don't deserve the presumption of innocence. We could debate these points at length.

The way it stands now, some judges appear to be setting bond based on a presumption of guilt and on the heinousness of the alleged crime, rather than a presumption of innocence and a requirement to appear for trial. Judges should not set higher bail to keep suspects in jail. If judges believes there's a high risk of repeat offense, they should deny bail altogether and be forthright about their reasons.

March 17, 2011 at 2:57 p.m.
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