Accused Assaulter Demands Hearing, Is Free On Bond
SUSPECT: Jerald L. Wingeart, U-M engineering student, walks handcuffed to Municipal Court from the County Jail yesterday afternoon for arraignment on charges of armed robbery and criminal assault.
Examination Scheduled Next Monday
Jerald L. Wingeart, 20-year-old University sophomore charged with the criminal assault of a blind girl early Sunday morning and the robbery of her escort, demanded examination on two charges filed yesterday afternoon in Ann Arbor Municipal Court.
Wingeart, an engineering student living at 2324 Parkwood Ave. in Pittsfield Village, was arraigned before Acting Municipal Court Judge Alfred A. Sullivan on warrants charging him with armed robbery and criminal assault. When the student’s attorney, Joseph Low of Niles, Mich., requested the examinations, Judge Sullivan set them for next Monday.
Low protested vigorously against a release bond requested by Assistant Prosecutor Casper Kast of $10,000 on each count.
Asks Lower Bond
“The defendant is a University student, on a scholarship here, comes from a good family and, of course is innocent until proven guilty,” Low said. “I would think a bond of $2,500 on each count would be enough.” Judge Sullivan settled on bonds of $7,500 on each count. At 6 p.m. yesterday a bonding company posted the $15,000 total bond and Wingeart was freed from the County Jail.
Officers charge Wingeart accosted a 19-year-old blind girl and her companion on a lonely Ann Arbor township road at 1 a.m. Sunday. They say the student robbed the woman’s escort of his billfold while holding him at rifle point, tied the couple up and then took the girl with him in her escort’s car, detectives say.
The girl was criminally assaulted about a mile from the scene of the robbery and later pushed out of her escort’s car in Northfield township. The attacker’s car, left at the scene, was registered to Wingeart.
The couple’s stolen car yesterday was found abandoned about four miles north of Niles. Wingeart told detectives he recalls leaving the car in the brush and walking into Niles, where he called Low.
After talking with Wingeart Sunday night, Low drove the student back to Ann Arbor and turned him over to sheriff’s officers at the County Jail. A four-slate alarm had been put out for Wingeart. Low said he had heard of the search in a broadcast Sunday afternoon.
Yesterday afternoon the blind girl’s escort picked Wingeart out of a police “show-up” in the County Jail.
The blind girl in the case gave investigating officers a lengthy statement at the County Jail yesterday afternoon and her escort also was interviewed extensively.
Wingeart would only say he “could not remember” incidents of Saturday night and early Sunday morning. His wife, Susan, 20, had been visiting her parents in Niles. She returned to Ann Arbor Sunday when sheriff’s men notified her they were seeking her husband for questioning.
She was in the County Jail yesterday when he walked in with Low. They were permitted a brief visit four hours later when he was brought to the Municipal Court arraignment in handcuffs.
Sheriff’s detectives noted that four felonies—armed robbery, kidnaping, criminal assault and auto theft—were committed in the case.