Saturday, October 9, 2004

Bond $600K in Miami rape case

Prosecutor: Victim was near death; defense: Innocent explanation

By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

HAMILTON - A Miami University student "was very near death" after she was raped off-campus last week, Assistant Prosecutor Craig Hedric said Friday.

That's one reason Hedric asked a Butler County Common Pleas judge to set a high bond for the suspect, Jason Landis, 25, of Troy.

Hedric said the 22-year-old woman, who drove herself to McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, required emergency surgery and four units of blood. The woman was not beaten, he said, but suffered heavy bleeding as a result of the rape.

Citing the severity of the woman's injuries and her fear of Landis, Hedric asked Judge Keith Spaeth to set bond at $1 million.

Spaeth set bond at $600,000 and said Landis may be released from the Butler County Jail if he is able to post 10 percent of that amount - $60,000 - with a bondsman.

Landis' lawyer, Jon Paul Rion, had asked for a $50,000 bond, saying his client had served in the U.S. Army, didn't present a flight risk and has a viable defense against the charges.

Landis has pleaded not guilty to a 10-count indictment, which charges him with the rape, eight drug charges and a count of receiving a stolen driver's license.

The drug charges involve anabolic steroids and Viagra police said they found in his apartment. Steroids increase muscle size but also can cause aggression and health risks; Viagra is used to enhance male sexual performance.

Hedric said he did not know whether Landis was under the influence of either drug at the time of the attack on Sept. 28.

Spaeth ordered Landis, if he makes bail, to have no contact with his accuser or her family.

The judge also ordered Landis to stay away from Miami University and out of the city of Oxford, where the university is located.

The Landis case has caused the university to re-examine the way it handles sexual-assault cases.

University officials this week admitted they erred by failing to provide written notice to a woman Landis attacked in her dorm room last year. The woman thought Landis was barred from campus until 2005, but Miami allowed him to re-enroll this August, less than a year after he was found guilty of sexual imposition and aggravated trespass.

Rion said he did not know whether his client had the financial resources to post bond, and said he would seek a bond reduction later.

Rion said the woman who reported the attack had come to Landis' Chestnut Street apartment for a "consensual encounter" and there is an "innocent explanation" for what happened.

But Hedric said the woman knew Landis from a class and she had come to his apartment to help him with his studies.

Hedric said he thinks Landis' real intention was to get the woman alone so he could attack her.

The woman is recovering with her family, officials said.

Landis' next court hearing is set for Oct. 22.


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