July 28, 2016 9:43:26 AM
One of two men arrested in connection to an alleged Cotton District rape, kidnapping and assault pleaded not guilty to six felony charges Wednesday in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court.
Judge Lee Coleman set 42-year-old Terry Lamont Hill's bond at $500,000 after he entered not guilty pleas to two felony kidnapping charges and one count each of aggravated assault, rape, robbery and sexual battery.
Hill, of West Point, and 29-year-old Jerry Lee Talley Jr., of McCool, stand accused of beating, subduing and locking a man in a Cotton District home's closet and raping a woman on May 1.
Talley is scheduled to be arraigned in circuit court today. He faces seven felony charges, including the same six as Hill and an additional aggravated assault charge.
A previous aggravated assault charge against Hill was not bound to the Oktibbeha County grand jury by Starkville Municipal Court Judge Rodney Faver because of inconclusive evidence surrounding the non-traditional weapon -- supposedly an ashtray -- and the victim's lack of life-threatening injuries.
In that May hearing, Starkville Police Department Det. Jonathan Headley testified DNA obtained from the female victim matched DNA procured from Hill via oral swabs. Public defender Ben Lang said DNA evidence could also link his client, Hill, to the rape charge.
On the night of May 1, Headley testified in a previous hearing, Hill and Talley returned to a Maxwell Street home on the pretense of finding a lost cell phone.
Once they were allowed in the residence, Headley testified, the male victim was assaulted with a blunt object to the point of being dazed. An iPhone was taken from the victim, which officers would later track to locate Hill.
The victim told investigators the attackers said "if he didn't lay still, he would be killed," Headley testified.
Once he regained full awareness, Headley said, the victim found his hands being tied behind his back with shoelaces.
A struggle ensued, Headley testified, and the victim was forced into a closet. In the process, he said, the victim was able to release his hands enough from the binding to drag the female victim's cell phone into the closet.
From there, he placed an 18-minute call to 911. The call's length was extended, Headley said, because the victim had to keep his voice at a whisper so he wouldn't alert his captors, who stood outside the door.
As one suspect held the door shut, Headley testified, the other forced the female victim to have intercourse.
The female victim was later taken to OCH Regional Medical Center. Detectives had to wait almost four hours before interviewing her because of her "state of shock," Headley testified. He said the victim claimed both men raped her.
SPD tracked the male victim's phone to an area near Mississippi State University's campus. The suspect allegedly accessed a cellar door, Headley testified, and was found under a home in the Oktoc Road area.
Talley was arrested days after Hill was taken into custody.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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