By SVERRE BAKKE
A local man pleaded "not guilty" to second-degree rape Monday during his arraignment in Klickitat County Superior Court.
Luke Wayne Talkington, 40, is charged with the alleged rape of a 34-year-old woman "sometime in the night between July 13 and July 14, 2006," Klickitat County Deputy Prosecutor Craig Juris said. The alleged rape occurred in the Bingen-White Salmon area.
Talkington was arrested by Bingen-White Salmon Police following an investigation by local officers and booked into the Klickitat County Jail. He made his first court appearance on July 17.
Second-degree rape, a Class A felony and "a most serious sex offense," falls under Washington's Two Strikes Law, under which a second offense conviction could result in a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Juris said second-degree rape differs from the more-serious first-degree rape.
"Second-degree rape is forcible rape but does not involve serious physical injury to the victim or the use or threat of use of a deadly weapon," he explained. "It's still extremely serious but slightly less so on the violence scale."
During Monday's hearing, Superior Court Judge Tom Reynolds granted the prosecution's motion to compel the defendant to provide DNA samples.
Juris said the prosecution asked for the DNA samples to create a baseline against which "any trace evidence recovered from the victim or the crime scene can be tested and used to match or not match the defendant's or the victim's DNA."
Talkington is next scheduled to appear in court on Monday, Aug. 7, at which time the prosecution and defense will exchange information and offer any motions pertaining to the case. Juris said that's also the time for the prosecution to make any settlement offer to the defense or for the defendant to change his plea.
"About two weeks after that there'll be what's called a status hearing," Juris said. "That's when we'll learn if there's going to be a settlement, if we're going to trial or if we're going to continue the matter to a later date."
Also Monday, the court set a trial date of Sept. 20 for Tyson James Henderson, who is accused of failing to register as a sex offender.
Henderson, 23 and a resident of the Bingen-White Salmon area, pleaded "not guilty" during his arraignment.
The charge against Henderson arose from an investigation by the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department back in January 2006. According to Juris, Henderson was convicted in 1999, in Okanogan County, of a sex crime (communications with a minor for immoral purposes) that required him to register as a sex offender.
Henderson had been living in the Bingen-White Salmon area for "about three to four months without doing so," Juris said.
Monday's plea of not guilty "was automatic" in such a proceeding because it serves "to preserve all the defendant's rights and to make sure law enforcement and our office has done everything correctly," Juris explained.
Failure to register as a sex offender is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.
Bail for Henderson, currently in the custody of the Klickitat County Jail, was left at $10,000.