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Man charged with attempting to abduct Bemidji girl wanted in Alabama on criminal sex charge

ATTLEBORO, MASS. - A 26-year-old Attleboro man facing allegations he tried to lure a 15-year-old Bemidji girl to Attleboro for sex was ordered held in jail on $300,000 cash bail Wednesday when authorities learned he was wanted in Alabama for allegedly sodomizing a 5-year-old boy.

David Weller, who moved to Attleboro from Alabama three months ago, faces allegations he sodomized the son of a former girlfriend more than a year ago, Assistant District Attorney Brian Zuanich said during a bail hearing.

The new allegations came to light as Judge Gregory L. Phillips was listening to bail arguments on the Attleboro case and was informed that the Alabama charges had just been entered into a nationwide database a few hours earlier.

Zuanich said the Alabama incident allegedly occurred sometime between Thanksgiving 2007 and February 2008 but charges were not filed until April 20. The mother of the boy did not learn about them until she saw the boy and her other child simulating a sex act and inquired how they learned about it, the prosecutor said.

Weller was indicted on sodomy by a grand jury April 20 in Baldwin County Alabama, according to police, but the warrant had not been entered into the database until Wednesday. Detective Russell Castro, who is the primary investigator in the Attleboro case, said Attleboro police will soon be filing a fugitive charge in light of the Alabama charges.

Weller had no visible reaction when Zuanich read a portion of the details in the Alabama case or the Attleboro allegations.

His lawyer, Richard Silva Jr. of Fall River, said his client said he took a lie detector test in Alabama and was told that the test was "inconclusive." He said his client moved to Attleboro with his current girlfriend and never knew that charges would be filed in Alabama.

In the Attleboro case, Weller is charged with arranging for a 15-year-old runaway from Bemidji to come to Providence, R.I., and meet him for sex after two weeks of sexually explicit conversations by computer and cell phone, Zuanich said.

The girl was bound for Providence by bus Friday but was intercepted by authorities in Chicago when her mother reported her missing. Police later learned she was going to meet a man identified as the defendant, Zuanich said.

"I suggest this could have been much more serious had it not been for the guile of the police in finding her," Zuanich said.

Weller was arrested early Sunday morning at the Kennedy Plaza bus station by Attleboro and Providence police after Castro identified him by calling his cell phone, Zuanich said.

While authorities claim Weller's intentions were nefarious and criminal, Silva said his client maintains he was only trying to help someone he thought was a 20-year-old woman.

"She told my client she was being physically abused by her family and that she needed help," Silva said.

Silva said his client's girlfriend heard the conversations on speaker phone and supports his claim. He also said any recording of the chat lines where his client communicated with the girl would support that she told him she was older.

Weller pleaded innocent to a charge in Attleboro District Court of enticing a girl under 16 for sex, a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Meanwhile, Castro told the court that the case remains under investigation and that additional charges may be filed.

Weller is due back in court May 28.