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Portsmouth sex offender faces trial for alleged rape, drugging

BRENTWOOD - A convicted sex offender charged with drugging three women in Portsmouth before sexually assaulting one of them will face a single trial on all of the charges next month, a judge said Friday.

Aaron Bonds, 43, of Dover was indicted in December for sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman at a Portsmouth apartment after supplying three women with what they believed was cocaine on the night of July 20, prosecutors said.

"The charges occurred within a relatively short distance from each other and in a relatively short amount of time," Judge N. William Delker said in a court order consolidating the case.

Bonds met up with two of the women at a restaurant in downtown Portsmouth. One of the women went into the restaurant's bathroom with Bonds and snorted what she believed to be cocaine, according to prosecutors. Bonds allegedly provided the cocaine in the bathroom and more drugs to the women later on in the night.

"(He) did not use the drug, nor did he charge for it," Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton said in court papers.

The sexual assault happened later in the night when Bonds went an apartment where one of the women lived, prosecutors said. A third woman had met the group at the apartment after the trio left the restaurant. The women told police the Bonds produced a second bag of what appeared to be cocaine while at the apartment. All three women snorted the drug, then became nauseous and unable to move, according to Bolton.

One woman claimed that, "the substance did not taste like cocaine, nor did it have the usual effect," Bolton said in court papers.

"Instead of feeling 'hyperness,' she felt drowsy and groggy." The three women "reported losing control of their body, not being able to control their movements or have an intelligent conversation," according to Bolton.

The women asked Bonds what was in the substance but he didn't respond, and later, "just stood there and watched them become sick," Bolton said.

Delker concluded that even if the court held separate trials on the sexual assault and drug charges, each of the women would likely be called to testify about their observations and experience after ingesting the drugs. Defense lawyer Brian Lavallee argued that the state's effort to consolidate the charges would only prejudice Bonds' right to a fair trial.

"(It's) clearly an attempt on the part of the state to play on the mainsprings of human emotion by piling on charges," Lavallee said in court papers.

Bonds, who is being held at the Rockingham County jail, was convicted of sexual assault in 2003. He is headed to trial on April 15. Bonds could face up to 20 to 40 years in state prison on each of the sexual assault charges, if he is convicted by a jury.

Trace Adkins
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