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Child solicitation suspect has bail reduced - Dothan Eagle: News

Child solicitation suspect has bail reduced

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Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 10:33 pm

A Houston County judge reduced the bail for a convicted sex offender charged with child solicitation.

Court records show Circuit Court Judge Jerry M. White, who was filling in for Circuit Court Judge Brad Mendheim, reduced the bail for 30-year-old Robert Blake Jones. White reduced the bail from $500,000 to $60,000 for each of Jones’ two felony charges, which include traveling to meet a child for a sex act and electronic solicitation of a child for a sex act.

Dothan police investigators arrested Jones on the charges in October 2012. Records show both charges stem from allegations that Jones used a computer to arrange a meeting with a 15-year-old girl for an unlawful sex act.

Assistant Houston County District Attorney Kristen Shields argued against a reduction in bail because of Jones’ two prior felony convictions.

Court records show Jones pleaded guilty to felony first-degree rape and felony first-degree burglary in Houston County in 2004. He received a 15-year sentence for both charges, which records show was suspended for three years probation.

Shields said Jones allegedly made arrangements online to meet a 15-year-old girl at Westgate Park.

Lawyers Will Matthews and Ben Freeman represented Jones in court Friday.

Matthews reminded the court those prior convictions were 11 years ago, and his client received straight probation for those offenses.

“I’m sure if you read between the lines it was a compromised plea,” Matthews said.

Freeman called the original bail, which totaled $1 million, excessive and essentially no bond.

“He didn’t go scouting a 15-year-old girl,” Freeman said. “He didn’t respond to an ad for a 15-year-old girl.”