An Oakland man’s plea to be released pending his trial on charges that he sexually abused a woman with Down syndrome was rejected Tuesday in Douglas County Circuit Court.
Edward Henry Capella, 73, has been in custody since his arrest Oct. 21 on suspicion of 24 counts of first-degree sex abuse and 12 counts of first-degree sodomy. He was originally booked into the Douglas County Jail on $10.5 million bail. His bail was set at $500,000 during his first court appearance.
His attorney, Richard Cremer, sought to have Capella released with conditions or at least have his bail further reduced to $100,000.
Cremer argued that Capella has lived at the same residence for 11 years and is not a flight risk. “His residence will remain stable in Douglas County and Oregon,” Cremer said.
Deputy District Attorney Shannon Sullivan objected, saying she was worried Capella will not show up for court appearances.
She also asked the alleged victim’s mother to speak in court to visiting Judge Donald Hull, a Hood River Circuit judge filling in for retiring Judge Ronald Poole.
The mother cried quietly as she said she was afraid Capella would disappear or threaten her daughter if he is freed.
“I feel if bail is lowered or he is released, it will put my daughter’s safety in jeopardy,” she said.
“She is very afraid of the defendant coming back and taking her away,” she said. “She’s afraid all the time. She cries sometimes at night.”
The mother said she has lived with Capella for 18 years and her daughter thought Capella was her biological father.
The News-Review is withholding the mother’s name to protect the identity of the victim.
The alleged victim wrote Hull a letter, which was not read in court.
Hull decided to keep Capella’s bail at $500,000.
“I’m concerned that he remain available for trial,” Hull said.
A hearing was set for Nov. 8 for Capella to enter a plea.
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.