The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday said Gary Dotson may be released on $100,000 bond from prison pending his appeal of a sentence for a rape that his accuser now says never occurred.
Shortly after the ruling, Dotson’s mother, Barbara, said that she had obtained a loan from a bank to post the necessary $10,000 cash. She said that she will go to the Dixon Correctional Center early today to pick up her son, who is serving a 25- to 50-year sentence.
Under Illinois law, Dotson may be freed by posting 10% of the $100,000 bond.
The high court said that Dotson, 28, could be freed pending his appeal of a Circuit Court judge’s ruling that there was insufficient reason to overturn his 1979 conviction on rape and aggravated kidnaping charges.
However, the high court postponed a decision on whether it will hear a direct appeal of that Circuit Court ruling, bypassing an intermediate appeals court.
Dotson was convicted after Cathleen Crowell Webb, then 16, testified that he raped her in July, 1977. In March, she filed an affidavit saying that she had fabricated the rape story.
After the high court ruling, John McLario, attorney for Webb, said: “I talked with her. She is very pleased that Gary will be out. We both have confidence.”
Dotson’s reaction to news of the bond was “Oh, fine,” according to Nic Howell, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections. Howell said Dotson did not want to talk with reporters.
“I’m a little scared, but I just don’t feel they can do it again to him (return him to prison),” his mother said. “I just know in my heart they aren’t going to take him back again.”
Key Testimony Questioned
The high court ruling came hours after Dotson’s attorneys argued that he should be released because of questions about key testimony in his 1979 trial.
In seeking bond, Dotson’s attorney, Warren Lupel, said: “The process which led to that conviction . . . is at least alleged now to be tainted. They themselves (prosecutors) admit that their chief witness lacks credibility.”
Circuit Judge Richard Samuels upheld Dotson’s conviction at a hearing last month, saying that Webb’s recantation lacked credibility. He had sentenced Dotson to prison after the 1979 trial.