S.C.: Convicted rapist charged in underground assaults is denied bond
By JOHN C. DRAKE
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, South Carolina- A local magistrate denied bond for a convicted rapist charged with abducting two teenage girls and assaulting them in an underground room behind his home.
Kenneth G. Hinson was captured Friday evening after a four-day manhunt in the woods around his neighborhood.
County Magistrate Deatrice Curtis on Saturday denied bond on charges of criminal sexual assault, kidnapping and assault and battery with intent to kill.
The two 17-year-old girls had been sleeping in a nearby home late Monday when Hinson, 47, allegedly kidnapped each girl and assaulted her in a room under a shed on his property, police said. The girls were left bound inside the room but managed to wriggle free and walk to safety.
At Saturday's hearing, County Chief Deputy Tom Gainey described the room's dire conditions, saying "we have found no space that would have supplied any air supply while they were in that compartment."
Hinson said little during the hearing, but he seemed taken with the interest in his case. When informed that he would be having a second bond hearing on a charge of first-degree burglary, Hinson asked: "Will we have this much media there too?"
Local, state and federal authorities had been searching for Hinson since Tuesday. On Friday, he showed up a the back door of a relative's home and asked for water, authorities said. The relative gave it to him, then called police.
Hinson, who was carrying a loaded handgun, was quickly arrested.
Neighbors said Saturday they were relieved Hinson was in custody.
"I slept good last night," said Argeree Cooks, who lives with her four grandchildren just down the street from Hinson's property. She said she had been sleeping with a hammer and a gun within reach all week.
In 1991, Hinson had been convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl. Just before his release from prison in 2000, a review committee recommended he be committed indefinitely to a Department of Mental Health facility for treatment. But Circuit Judge Edward Cottingham rejected the recommendation, saying prosecutors failed to show that Hinson would likely offend again.
Cottingham said Friday he did not remember the specific case but said state law requires prosecutors to show probable cause that the person will commit another sexual assault.
"Obviously I regret that these young children were raped by this man," he said.