Crime

Attempted rape suspect pleads not guilty during Monday hearing

Various accounts of the alleged attempted rape incident outside of the Outlaws Saloon Saturday were presented Monday in Recorder's Court.

Represented by Defense Attorney John Martin, 24-year-old Doug Heinzelman of Fortson pleaded not guilty to attempted rape and aggravated battery.

Judge Michael Cielinski ordered Heinzelman be held in the Muscogee County Jail under bonds totaling $75,000 and bounded the case over to Superior Court.

The 54-year-old victim allegedly told police she was inside of the Outlaws Saloon, 6499 Veterans Parkway, dancing and kissing the suspect, Columbus Police Officer David Smith said.

The two reportedly exited the establishment and went toward the back of the club behind a green dumpster, Smith said.

Heinzelman allegedly grabbed the woman by her left arm and tried to pull her shirt down in an attempt to rape her, the testifying officer said.

The woman reportedly told police that she remembered calling for her 56-year-old boyfriend for help, but she couldn't recall the events that followed, Smith said.

She wasn't injured during the alleged attempted rape, according to officials.

Smith said he spoke with the individual the victim identified as her boyfriend Saturday. The "boyfriend" reportedly told Smith that he witnessed his girlfriend mingle with the suspect inside of the club and leave with him, according Columbus police.

Smith told the court that the"boyfriend" said he wasn't the jealous type but followed the two to talk to them.

The 56-year-old man reportedly told police that heard his girlfriend call for help and saw someone pull her from the area near the dumpster to a place behind a semi-truck, the Smith testified.

Smith said that Heinzelman and the man got into an physical altercation, and the suspect nearly bit off the 56-year-old man's finger during the incident.

The suspect sustained bruising and scratches on the face that stem from the fight, Smith said.

Cielinski allowed the victims to confirm or denied the officer's testimony. They then agreed that the details of the attempted rape and aggravated assault were correct, but the events that led up to to both offenses were incorrect.

During the hearing, the two denied ever telling police they are in a romantic relationship. The two said they are just friends.

The aggravated battery victim told the judge that they all left the club together with plans to go eat as a group. When they made their way outside, Heinzelman reportedly said he couldn't find his truck, he said.

The 56-year-old man said the alleged offender said his vehicle was in one spot and then changed his mind and said it was in another area.

Eventually, the suspect reportedly identified a truck in a corner of the alley as his vehicle. That's when the aggravated battery victim allegedly said he didn't feel comfortable leaving his truck and he wanted to ride separately.

The male victim told the judge that he went over to the dumpster to relieve himself and lost sight of his friend and Heinzelman.

The 56-year-old man said he heard his friend scream ran to her to find out what happened.

The man said he saw Heinzelman grabbing his friend and yelled at him, leading to "pretty bad fight" outside of the club.

The suspect didn't testify during the early 8 a.m. hearing, but police told the court that Heinzelman said Saturday night that he couldn't remember the incident.

Columbus police obtained video evidence of the events leading up to the incident, but the surveillance footage doesn't show the attempted rape incident.

According to the testifying officer, the video shows the suspect and victim holding one anthers arms while walking toward the rear of the club. The suspect appeared to turn back to the club, but it seems as if she pulled him back toward the back of the Outlaws Saloon.

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