An Elkton man who has languished in jail for six months is finally free Thursday night. Forty-six-year-old Rudolph Dean was arrested in January, shortly after a series of events along Eastside Highway led to the shooting of Robert Crawford.
Supporters of 46-year-old Rudolph Dean Jr. have been working to get him free on bond, and convince prosecutors to drop a pair of shooting charges against him. They got part of their wish Thursday.
Judges in two different courts denied him bond, but after a third hearing, Dean was finally allowed to go free Thursday afternoon until his trial.
The online and community campaign to free Rudy Dean can claim its first victory.
Cindy Carr with Citizens for Rudy Dean said, "He gets to go home and be with his family, work until his hearing where he can be proven either innocent or guilty. That's winning a battle. The war is to see Mr. Dean cleared of these charges."
Those charges are malicious wounding and using a firearm. He's accused of shooting Robert Crawford in January, during a road rage incident near Grottoes.
Prosecutors argue that Dean followed Crawford to his house, and shot him in his own driveway. Friends say there's no way Dean was the aggressor.
"He's always there to assist somebody in need," said family friend Peter Leccese. "So what you hear in court is such a travesty as to what the man really is."
Supporters gathered outside the Rockingham County courthouse, after Judge TJ Wilson ordered Dean free on $50,000 bond. They launched the "Free Rudy" campaign after Dean failed in his first two requests for bail.
"A man tries to defend himself and winds up sitting in jail for six months. To me, it's an injustice. But today justice prevailed," Leccese said.
"We don't understand the odd or unusual," Carr said. "We just have to trust that our legal system will prevail and that Mr. Dean will have a fair trial."
A jury will hear and decide the case over two days in late September.
The judge attached numerous restrictions to Dean's bond. Among them, he must always wear a GPS-enabled anklet that will sound an alarm and call 911 if he gets within three miles of Crawford's home.
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