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UPDATE: Student accused of rape attends hearing in wheelchair

Although a prosecutor contended Thursday that a special-needs student charged in the Jan. 19 rape of a girl at Northeast High School has use of his arms and legs, bailiffs helped move him from a wheelchair to another chair to get him into a jail courtroom for a hearing.

Court and jail personnel helped 18-year-old Antonio Jackson move back into his wheelchair inside the courtroom. His wheelchair couldn’t fit through the door without the wheels being removed.

A Superior Court judge denied bond for Jackson, who also has been charged with aggravated sodomy in connection with the alleged rape of the girl in a school restroom.

Before the hearing began, Jackson shielded himself from the media by tucking his face into the neck of a white T-shirt he wore under an orange jail jumpsuit.

Reporters with TV cameras received a scolding from the judge for not filing proper court documents requesting permission to tape the proceedings before their arrival. After the warning, the TV cameras were allowed to stay.

After the hearing, Jackson again shielded his face using his shirt as he was transferred again into a straight chair and dragged through the narrow door.

During the hearing, prosecutor John Regan said witnesses have said Jackson participated in a sex act inside the bathroom. He’s also seen on video going into and leaving the restroom.

Jackson’s attorney, Andrew Foster, said his client has cerebral palsy and a learning disability.

Regan said Jackson entered the bathroom using “his own power.”

Foster argued that Jackson doesn’t pose a flight risk or danger to the community. His mother and father live locally.

He doesn’t have any prior convictions, Foster said.

Another six students also are charged with rape in the incident.

Check back at Macon.com and read Friday’s Telegraph for more on this story.

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