• Teen rape suspect held under $200,000 secured bond


    NEWTON, N.C. - A teen rape suspect stood before Superior Court Judge Nathaniel Poovey on Thursday as his temporary attorney, Daniel Fulkerson, asked that his $300,000 bond be reduced.

    Fulkerson argued that since his client, Mikal Jerome Gray, 17, has a stable home life and is no danger to society or himself, his bond should be reduced so he can return to the Hickory home he shares with his mother and grandmother who were in court showing their support.

    “This gentleman’s not going to go anywhere,” Fulkerson said. “I think that his bond is too high given his prior history.”

    Assistant District Attorney Michael Van Buren was quick to argue against the reduction.

    He pointed out that Gray and an unnamed 15-year-old are accused of raping a 14-year-old girl who has an IQ of 50 during a program she was required to attend. Van Buren said Gray exerted authority over his alleged accomplice as they violated the girl orally, anally and vaginally. A doctor told investigators that the injuries the girl sustained were consistent with a violent rape.

    Poovey lowered Gray’s bond by $100,000. He is now in jail under a $200,000 secured bond. If he is able to post bail and leave the jail, Gray will be required to live with his mother, observe a curfew from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m., stay in Catawba County and to have no contact with the victim or her family.

    During his first court hearing after his arrest, Gray requested a court-appointed attorney and was originally appointed Victoria Jane. She asked to be withdrawn from the case eight days after she was assigned to it because she was no longer on the court-appointed list. Fulkerson agreed to help Gray with his bond reduction hearing. During Thursday’s hearing, Poovey appointed Lance Sigmon to represent Gray.

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