Accused rapist pleads innocent

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SANDPOINT — A Ponderay man accused of raping a woman last summer pleaded not guilty recently.

Wiley Louis Lutkins’ four-day jury trial on a charge of forcible rape is set for March in 1st District Court. Lutkins is being held at the Bonner County Jail with his bail set at $63,000.

Lutkins waived his right to a preliminary hearing in magistrate court last month, clearing the way for him to be tried in district court.

Lutkins, 26, raped the woman at Ponderay trailer park in June, charging papers allege. The woman tried to stop the attack, but was overcome by force, the criminal complaint further alleges.

The alleged victim testified at a probable cause hearing in September that she was visiting friends and a reportedly drunken Lutkins was injured while roughhousing with another person in the home.

She told the court that she attempted to help Lutkins tend to his wounds, but he punched her in the face before forcing himself on her, court documents indicate.

Lutkins, court records say, sent the woman an apologetic text message before leaving the Panhandle for Arizona. Lutkins later returned to Idaho and surrendered to authorities.

Lutkins faces anywhere from a year to life behind bars if he’s convicted of the charge.

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