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Psychiatric issues cited in attack that brought Roanoke man 4-year prison term

Martinsville Bulletin - 5/24/2018

James Deanthony Doss did not know the 77-year-old woman he attacked early last year, grabbing her and groping her as she was trying to enter her home in northwest Roanoke.

Doss, 26, was supposed to be off running an errand to the store the evening the assault occurred, his mother said Tuesday at his sentencing hearing in Roanoke Circuit Court.

She said her son began experiencing psychiatric issues around age 16. A stack of his hospital records brought to court, illustrating those troubles, measured several inches.

"Mr. Doss is someone who really needs the benefit of mental health treatment," defense attorney Brian Barnett said.

Doss pleaded no contest in December to one count of aggravated sexual battery, and through his plea agreement he saw an additional count of object sexual penetration dropped.

At Tuesday's hearing Doss received four years in prison, with another eight years in suspended time, and Judge David Carson ordered him to undergo and comply with psychiatric and medical treatment while in custody. He will have five years of probation to serve after his release and must register with the state as a sex offender.

The incident occurred just after 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 25, 2017, in the 1300 block of Summit Lane. Prosecutors have said the victim was unlocking her front door when a man came up behind her, covered her mouth and assaulted her. A neighbor saw the attack and chased the man away. Doss was later arrested nearby.


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