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Man held on rape charges

By Kathy Jefcoats

A Norcross man suspected of multiple counts of rape, aggravated sodomy and armed robbery is due in Henry Superior Court Aug. 4 for a bond hearing after his case was bound over for grand jury presentment Friday morning.

Ali Reza Nejad, 32, of High Craft Circle was out on bond and under house arrest on similar charges from Fulton County when he was arrested in Henry County last week. Henry police Detective Carol Wood testified in Henry Magistrate Court Friday that Nejad is also a suspect in assaults in Clayton County.

Henry jail records indicate that Nejad, a native of Iran, works for his family's business, Truss Tech Industries in Buford, a roofing company.

Police in all three jurisdictions reported that victims said their attacker had nylon stockings with him that he forced them to wear while they were assaulted.

Magistrate Marty Jones ruled that, although he found probable cause to bind over the case, defense attorneys brought out numerous matters that could raise concerns by a trial jury.

"If the state won't have witnesses available to testify, it would be inappropriate to hold him without bond," said Jones.

The availability of witnesses who are also alleged victims was one issue raised by defense attorneys Akil Secret and Michael Trost, who suggested the women are illegal aliens who might be deported before trial.

The three women were employees at a spa-massage parlor Nov. 29, said Wood. Only one speaks English and she translated for the other two when the alleged incident was reported to police. Wood said she does not know their nationalities or immigration status.

Under direct examination by Assistant State Court Solicitor Heidi Silcox, Wood testified that the woman told police that a man entered the business at 11:45 p.m. Nov. 28 and asked for a 30-minute massage. Instead of providing requested identification, the woman said the man wrote his name and date of birth on a piece of paper.

As she led him to Room 5, Nejad reportedly pulled a black handgun on her and asked about other employees. Two other women were playing cards in another room and their money was on the table. Nejad and the woman went into the other room and he reportedly took that money.

Wood said he asked about other money and was told there was some in the reception area.

"He forced them to crawl to the front room where he took $60 from the business," said Wood. "He then made them crawl back to Room 5 and told the women to undress."

Wood said Nejad handed two of the women a pair of nylons and ordered them to wear them.

After the assault, Nejad left behind a tissue, she said. The DNA on the tissue matched that of Nejad.

The women told police that he ordered them into the shower, pulled the curtain closed and then left the business by a back door, said Wood. One of the women called 911 and the investigation began.

However, it wasn't until the beginning of June when Wood began getting information from other jurisdictions about similar incidents that she got close to making an arrest. Nejad was charged first in Atlanta and was released on bond and house arrest.

Wood said she took his Atlanta mug shot, put it in a photo line-up and presented it to one of the Henry victims.

"She immediately picked him out," said Wood. "She was very matter of fact about it."

But Trost said there was "serious doubt" that a crime happened, characterizing any encounter between Nejad and the women as a business arrangement.

"This is clearly a house of prostitution," argued Trost, but Jones interrupted, "It's not clear."

"Well, this is nothing more than a dispute between a business and a customer," Trost continued. "To link this defendant to this incident takes a leap of faith. This was sex and sex for hire but there is doubt that a crime was committed."

Trost alleges that the alleged victim refused to allow collection of evidence from their bodies. But Silcox said the women showered and doubted that evidence remained.

The most dramatic portion of the hearing occurred when Nejad approached the bench so Jones could determine his eye color. The women told police their attacker had light brown eyes and dark and golden hair. Nejad appeared in court with black hair and his attorney said he has green eyes. Silcox was not impressed.

"I did it – you can put highlights in your hair and wear colored contacts," she said.