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Rape, assault charges dropped in plea

10/1/2009

By RYAN CHRISTNER

rchristner@dailynews.net

Three Hays men arrested in February on suspicion of sexual assault and rape against two women entered a plea agreement that dropped the sexually related charges and were sentenced in Ellis County court Tuesday.

Dominique Allen, 22, Denzel Black, 22, and David Draper, 22, pleaded no contest to charges of misdemeanor battery and possession of marijuana. Allen's plea also included a charge of misdemeanor theft.

Each was sentenced to 18 months of court-services probation, with 18 months of underlying prison time, should the men -- all of Aurora, Colo. -- violate any of their probationary terms.

Also sentenced in the case was Terrance Black, the 18-year-old brother of Denzel Black.

On Sept. 11, Terrance Black agreed to be certified as an adult for prosecution. During a hearing last week, Black was given the same sentence as his three co-defendants.

Drees said the younger Black sibling has been returned to Colorado to serve time for a previous conviction of illegal discharge of a firearm.

On Feb. 6, Hays emergency dispatchers received a hang-up 911 call at approximately 3:30 a.m. from an apartment in the 700 block of West 12th, where Allen, Denzel Black and Draper resided.

The defendants were arrested on suspicion of an alleged sexual battery of a Hays woman and rape of a woman from Colorado.

An amended affidavit submitted to the court earlier this month, however, contains no information relating to any sexual crimes.

According to the affidavit, which was prepared by Hays Police Department Investigator Dave Bunger, the alleged rape victim told police she was assaulted by the four men, one of whom she said grabbed her wallet, which contained approximately $110 in cash, and an iPod Shuffle portable music player.

While attempting to call 911, the woman's phone was knocked out of her hands, she said, and she was struck in the head while attempting to regain possession of it.

Police officers responded to the scene and later conducted a search of the apartment, where the iPod -- stored behind boxes on a high shelf at the back corner of Allen's bedroom closet -- and several plastic bags containing small quantities of marijuana were found.

Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees said that after gathering more information and consulting with the alleged rape victim, it was his decision to enter the plea agreements as accepted by the defendants, without the inclusion of sexually related charges.