Community Relieved as Rape Suspect Faces Judge - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/10/06

Community Relieved as Rape Suspect Faces Judge

Police say Edward Shuman raped a 16-year-old Savannah girl. Police say Edward Shuman raped a 16-year-old Savannah girl.

The man suspected of raping a 16-year-old Savannah girl almost four weeks ago went before a judge today. Police say Edward Shuman, posing as an exterminator, raped the teen in her own home.

Today Shuman appeared in court in a wheel-chair. He's facing several charges including rape, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

When police arrested Shuman, he pulled away from them and they had to use force. He was treated at the scene and taken straight to jail. He was not in a wheelchair when police took him to jail. Lt. Mike Wilkins with the police department says he has no idea why he was in a wheelchair today, but it had nothing to do with his arrest.

Those living in Blackshear Homes on Wheaton Street, where the attack happened, are breathing a little easier today. Everyone we spoke with said they are thrilled police caught the suspect. They will sleep a little bit easier knowing he is behind bars.

For the past few weeks, people who live in the community have been watching everything and everyone coming into their neighborhood. The rape of the 16-year-old girl put everyone on edge. But with a suspect in jail, neighbors are a little more relaxed.

"I feel better," said resident Rasheedah Bostic. "I feel a lot better."

"I feel the Savannah Police Department did an excellent job catching him and it makes us as a community feel safe," said resident Evelyn Washington.

Angela Duncan lives in Blackshear Homes. She says the sketch of the suspect police put out last week looked familiar, but like many others in the neighborhood, she couldn't place his face. Duncan thought the rapist could still be in the area and was concerned for her children's safety. "They were real cautious, always in packs, never separated."

Duncan says, as tragic an attack as this was, the ordeal brought the neighborhood closer together. "Everyone was more aware of their surroundings and that was good. Everyone came out and spoke, everyone knew where everyone's children were."

Some residents say they just feel safer walking down the street, while others are just relieved Blackshear will be back to normal.

"I can go back to work tomorrow with a smile on my face," said Duncan.

And while these people feel better, they will never forget what happened in their once-quite neighborhood. "From now on, they must show me some type of identification," said Bostic. "Because if they don't, they wont be getting into 115."

Shuman's next court date is April 18.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly