Man charged with assault in court
Highland Park — In chilling testimony Friday that brought some courtroom watchers to tears, an 11-year-old girl gave a harrowing account of being accosted and raped last month on her way to school and pointed at the man she said assaulted her.
As 24-year-old Ramirez Demarco Dewberry sat a short distance from her in 30th District Court, the girl identified him as the man who approached her from behind and held a gun to her head as she walked to catch a school bus in the 80 block of Church Street about 7:45 a.m. Dec. 10.
Wearing the aqua-green coat she had on that morning, the soft-spoken child shook as she recounted the attack before a courtroom packed for Dewberry's preliminary exam.
"He was behind me. He said, 'Hey little girl,' " the child testified before Judge Brigette Officer-Hill. "He grabbed me and then took me to an abandoned house."
Once inside, the man put the silver-colored handgun to her mouth and asked her if she knew how to to do a popular dance move, the girl testified.
"He asked me if I knew how to twerk and I said no," said the girl.
She said the man ordered her to take off her pants, raped her in a bathroom, then took her toward the basement of the vacant home. The girl said she told him there was water in the basement, so he took her back to the bathroom and left.
The girl escaped out a window and ran to a nearby gas station, where police were called.
Tears welled in the eyes of many in the audience as the girl spoke. Those in court included her family, relatives and friends of Dewberry, and city residents and activists who helped search for the attacker in the days after the assault.
Police say they received a tip about the suspect that led to Dewberry's arrest on a Greyhound bus in Jackson as he made his way back to the Detroit area from Chicago on Jan. 7.
Minister Malik Shabazz, who was in the courtroom, organized a search of the neighborhood looking for the person who attacked the child.
Shabazz said the child's testimony was painful to hear. "My heart was heavy. I cried," he said. "I believe (the child's attacker) is sick, pathological and needs some help."
Steven Willis, who identified himself as Dewberry's brother, said: "I believe he's innocent. I don't believe this man's character to be like this."
Shabazz said: "Only God knows and our little daughter knows. Police have told me they have their man."
Dewberry's defense attorney, William Winters, asked her if she described her attacker as having "pitted-like" skin.
"You saw that guy and he had something funny like pitted acne scars on his face? Like acne scars, right?" he asked. She replied yes.
Winters asked her if she had gotten "a pretty good look at what he looked like," and she said yes.
At the conclusion of the exam, Officer-Hill bound Dewberry over to Wayne County Circuit Court to stand trial on charges of kidnapping, first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, felony assault and felony firearm.
Dewberry was remanded to jail. His next court date is Jan. 30.