$250,000 bond pulled on kidnapping suspect

Published 10:02 am Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Vicksburg man accused of attempting to kidnap two 10-year-old girls will remain in the Warren County Jail without bail.

County Judge Johnny Price Wednesday revoked the $250,000 bond for Cody Coleson, 22, who is charged by city police with two counts of attempted kidnapping following an incident Saturday at Pemberton Square Mall. Price’s order came during a hearing on a motion by Jerry Campbell, Coleson’s attorney, to reduce the bond set Tuesday in Municipal Court.

Price said he would reconsider Campbell’s motion to reduce his client’s bond once the family has him evaluated by a psychiatrist and he could review the evaluation.

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The call for the psychiatric evaluation came after Coleson’s mother said her son suffered from static encephalopathy, a brain condition that restricts the developmental process of an individual, and often contributes to other developmental problems such as cerebral palsy, autism, attention deficit disorder and mental retardation.

“None of us is a doctor, so let’s get a psychiatrist to evaluate him,” he said. “I’m here to protect the public. This young man does not need to be on the street because of the charges against him.”

Price said Coleson would remain in jail “until a doctor tells me he is not a threat to himself or others.”

“I don’t know if he’s a pedophile or not, but there’s no cure for pedophilia.”

Campbell said Coleson’s family wants him evaluated quickly, “Because they don’t want anyone thinking their son is a threat to people or anything else, (and) they want him treated.”

He said Coleson was to have an appointment at Grace Christian Counseling Center Wednesday to get help for his condition.

Campbell said after the hearing Coleson is not a pedophile or a danger to others. He said he was in the process of trying to get a psychiatrist to do the evaluation, “But it’s hard to someone to go to the jail to do an evaluation.”

“What happened should not have happened, and I understand the family of those children being upset, but the threat is not there,” Campbell said, adding the family was trying to get Coleson’s bond reduced so they could get an evaluation.

“He suffers from psychiatric problems that make him relate to younger people,” he said. “He cannot relate to people his own age.

And while Coleson denies holding the children against their will, “He did follow them into the bathroom. It was terrible for him to walk into the bathroom and follow them, but he was trying to talk to them. He was not trying to assault any little girl.”

“I don’t want it thought of that he was assaulting those little girls, because he wasn’t.”

According to police reports, two older siblings allowed the girls to go to the mall restroom by themselves. Once inside the restroom, Coleson allegedly grabbed the children, put his hands over their mouths and attempted to push them into one of the stalls. The girls were able to break away from Coleson and leave the bathroom.

As they ran down the mall, Coleson chased them until he saw the older siblings, and left the mall. He was identified through video surveillance by police Investigator Otis Stamps. Coleson was arrested by Stamps and officers Jaclyn Noel and Eric Proctor.

During testimony Wednesday, Stamps said surveillance video showed Coleson following the girls and their sisters as they shopped in one of the stores at the mall, and the younger girls told police they saw him at the mall’s arcade as they waited to get tickets for a movie at the theater. When they went to the mall restroom, they told police, Closeson followed.

Coleson, Stamps said, talked with them before attempting to shove them into a stall. When the girls began screaming, he said, Coleson ran out of the restroom followed by the girls, but he turned and followed them until one of the older girls found them.

Campbell said his client denied touching the girls.

“He put his hand out. Whether he touched their mouths or not, I don’t know, but he put his hand out   to tell them to be quiet. He vehemently denies trying to push them in a stall or anything. That did not happen.”

When he exited the restroom, he said, Coleson was running from them after the incident.

“He was not following them,” he said. “He did not assault them. He was not intending to assault them.

“I’m not faulting the kids; I’d be scared, too, if a female was in there and a man walked into the bathroom behind you. That’s understandable. But he did not grab them; he completely denies that. Those kids were not going to be hurt, even though they were scared and I understand that.”

The evaluation, he said, is designed to get treatment for Coleson and to make sure the family of the children know his situation.

“They have a right to be upset, and we’re going to give them the whole deal once we get that evaluation, and they’re entitled to that.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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