The Hamilton County grand jury has declined to indict two people accused of kidnapping a North Georgia woman from the Warehouse Row area on Feb. 25 and raping her.
Shrena Bell, 36, and Carlton Wayne Cameron, 52, will not face trial on charges of aggravated rape, robbery and kidnapping lodged against them in February, according to court records.
A 32-year-old Rock Spring, Ga., woman testified in a March 17 preliminary hearing that as she drove away from the Warehouse Row shopping area on Feb. 25 Bell approached her car, held a knife near her throat and kidnapped her.
The alleged victim’s name was withheld in accordance with Chattanooga Times Free Press policy.
The woman claimed Bell took her to an apartment where she and Cameron blew crack-cocaine smoke in her face and raped her twice.
Cameron’s attorney, Lloyd Levitt, said he had doubts from the start.
“When I read the account in the newspaper, before I even knew I was going to be retained, I immediately felt that there was something wrong with the story,” Levitt said in a phone interview Wednesday.
“I was very skeptical and felt that once the whole story came out there would be some major questions,” Levitt said.
Cameron made bond on the charges but Levitt said he lost his job as a Chattanooga city worker, which he’s held since 1986.
“He’s going to be damaged forever from this process,” Levitt said. “I’m hopeful that maybe the city will take a look at it and rehire him.”
City spokesman Richard Beeland said Cameron is eligible for reinstatement.
Bell’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Sharetta Smith, said she planned to meet with her client.
The grand jury looks at cases to see if there’s probable cause to return an indictment, which is a lower standard than what’s required in a trial, she said.
“Fortunately for [Bell and Cameron] the system worked this time,” she said.
Executive Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston said that all of the evidence police gathered was presented to the grand jury and unless new evidence is found, no more charges will be brought against the defendants.
“The case is pretty much over at this point,” he said.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...