The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

December 21, 2013

Attorney objects to bail, charges

The attorney of a man accused of assaulting three juveniles Tuesday at Kohl’s said the $250,000 bail amount set Wednesday by Raleigh County Magistrate Charles Humphrey is unfair to his client.

Humphrey, who set Duncan’s bail at $250,000, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Attorney Gerald Hayden also said his client was “overcharged,” if all the evidence in the criminal complaint is accurate.

Henry Timberlake Duncan, 35, of 253 Heber St., is charged with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse for grabbing the buttocks of three minors, according to Beckley police.

According to the criminal complaint, all three of the adolescents reported in separate statements to police that Duncan had suddenly grabbed hold of them without their consent as they were shopping in the department store.

Kohl’s employees had tried to stop Duncan after one of the ambushes, according to the criminal complaint, but he fled the store.

Duncan, described by Hayden as a self-employed contractor who works odd jobs, turned himself in to police Thursday morning after BPD officers released surveillance images of Duncan to the public Wednesday.

Following the release of the video, the daughter of Duncan’s girlfriend handed over to police the white jacket and other articles of clothing that Duncan was seen wearing in the video Tuesday.

According to Hayden, the point of bail is to guarantee that a defendant will show up for court.

“The magistrate clearly stated he thinks my client should be in jail right now,” said Hayden, adding that it violated due process.

Hayden said he believes the high bond amount is in reaction to media coverage of Duncan’s reported crimes.

“That (amount) would be the standard for one of the most heinous crimes that one could think of,” said Hayden. “That’s the kind of bond you set for rape, arson, capital crimes.”

The attorney,Jessica Farrish 12/20/13  who was retained, also said the criminal charges against Duncan are inflated.

“Even if (the criminal complaint) is true, I still think that he’s been overcharged, and it’s been sensationalized,” said Hayden. “I think he should’ve been charged with simple misdemeanor battery instead of first-degree sexual abuse.”

First-degree sexual abuse is a felony and carries a potential sentence of one to five years in prison, said Hayden.

The attorney added that he has not yet viewed surveillance footage of the incidents, but has read the criminal complaints and talked to Duncan.

BPD Cpl. Morgan Bragg said Kohl’s surveillance video clearly shows Duncan’s assaults on the victims and added that the video suggests there are additional victims who have not yet filed reports.

Bragg urged other victims to contact BPD at 304-256-1708.

— E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com

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