Bail for accused serial rapist raised to $10,000 cashCash bail for a Superior man accused of a string of stranger sexual assaults was raised to $10,000 today in Douglas County Court.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Cash bail for a Superior man accused of a string of stranger sexual assaults was raised to $10,000 today in Douglas County Court.
Craig Allen Mehtala, 28, faces three felony counts of second-degree sexual assault stemming from three separate attacks on women this summer in Superior. He waived a preliminary hearing for the case.
Less than an hour later, Douglas County Circuit Court Judge George Glonek raised his bail from $750 to $10,000.
“I believe cash bail in excess of $750 is necessary and appropriate to ensure future appearances in court,” he said.
While most bail/bond hearings are requested by an attorney, this hearing was instigated by Glonek.
“It was a matter I wanted for review,” he told the court Wednesday.
Mehtala made his first initial appearance in Douglas County Circuit Court on Oct. 5 on a single charge of second-degree sexual assault. Court Commissioner Paul Baxter set a cash bail amount of $750 in the case. With the complaint amended to include three sexual assault counts, Mehtala made a second initial appearance in Douglas County Court on Oct. 6. Baxter continued the bail at $750.
At Wednesday’s hearing, assistant district attorney Lance Nelsen requested $10,000 cash bail due to the serious and violent nature of the offenses.
If convicted, each sexual assault charge carries a maximum 40-year sentence. He also noted that there is strong evidence in the case, including DNA evidence that links two of the assaults.
Mehtala’s attorney, Chris Gramstrup, pointed out that the purpose of bail is to ensure that a person facing charges makes future court appearances. Any concerns for public safety could be addressed in the bail conditions, he said.
Glonek balanced the fact that Mehtala is a lifelong resident with close ties to the community and no significant criminal history against the serious nature of the offenses and the fact that the case has been bound over for arraignment.
Without those community contacts, the judge said, “cash bail around $100,000 might be more appropriate.”
Gramstrup told Glonek that any increase of the bail amount would be “academic” at this point. Mehtala is also the suspect in an unsolved 2006 sexual assault in Burnett County. He made a bail/bond hearing appearance in Burnett County Circuit Court on Monday. A $25,000 signature bond was ordered in the case.
Although Mehtala’s family was able to raise the $750 to cover his bail in Douglas County, Gramstrup told the court, they are unable to raise the additional $2,500 to cover the Burnett County bond.
The Superior man is scheduled to make an initial appearance on the Burnett County charge on Oct. 28. An arraignment for the Douglas County charges will take place Nov. 2.
Mehtala remains in custody at the Douglas County Jail.