Crime

Deputy testifies in trial of man accused of attempted rape in Shirley Hills

One night last spring, a Shirley Hills woman went outside about midnight to smoke a cigarette when she noticed a shadow out of the corner of her eye.

A tall white man with a long ponytail was standing in her backyard.

He was naked, with a white T-shirt draped over his shoulder.

The woman yelled, “What are you doing?”

The man replied, “I’m here for sex.”

A bench trial -- a trial without a jury -- is scheduled to begin Friday for 48-year-old Hank Baker. Baker is charged with criminal attempt to commit rape and aggravated assault stemming from the June 4 incident on Jackson Springs Road in Macon.

Bibb County deputy Dallas Malone testified Monday in the case, because he won’t be available for Friday’s proceeding.

Malone described how the woman alleges the naked man tackled her to the ground, pulled at her pants and choked her as she screamed.

Carrying her car keys, the woman tried to activate her car’s alarm during the struggle, Malone said.

At some point, the man fled down the driveway. The woman’s husband searched for him in the neighborhood to no avail, he said.

Malone testified that he removed a wad of hair tangled in the woman’s keys and collected it as evidence. Photos were taken of scratches on the woman’s shoulder.

There weren’t any marks on the woman’s neck, and her clothing didn’t appear ripped, he said.

In the days after the incident, deputies received reports of people spotting a man matching the assailant’s description near the neighborhood.

A little more than a week later, at about 12:30 a.m. on June 12, Malone was driving toward downtown on Gray Highway when he spotted a man wearing a short, white T-shirt and nothing else.

“I did a U-turn,” Malone testified. But by then, the man was gone.

Malone said he called for other deputies’ help and searched behind a business near the intersection of North Avenue and Gray Highway.

A man “jumped up” from behind some garbage cans and ran. Malone said he matched the woman’s description of her attacker.

Malone testified that he ran after the man and chased him through several backyards.

At one point, when he was about five feet away from the man, Malone warned him to stop or he’d zap him with a Taser, he said.

He didn’t stop.

Prongs from the Taser hit the man in the back and the left cheek of his buttocks, Malone said.

Once in custody, the man told deputies his name was Hank Baker, he said.

Malone said Baker smelled faintly of alcohol, and he defecated in another deputy’s patrol car.

Baker has been held in state prison custody since Feb. 18, 2015, on unrelated charges, according to prison records.

In court Monday, his hair had been cut, and he was wearing an orange jail jumpsuit.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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