October 24, 2021

Rape case hearing canceled

Colin Spencer

Raymond Cole Jr., left, listens as defense attorney Luke Fenchel speaks at Thursday’s Huntley Hearing at Cortland County Court.

Defense attorney Luke Fenchel on Thursday withdrew his request for a Huntley Hearing on behalf of defendant Raymond ColeJr.

Cortland County Judge Julie A. Campbell said Fenchel had improperly filed a motion late Wednesday night to withdraw the request. The motion was “filed as a cover letter, not a motion” as the letter was not signed, Campbell said.

“I expect proper form,” she said.

A Huntley Hearing, when requested by the defense, allows the defendant to challenge the “voluntary and lawful nature of any statement made to police if the prosecution intends to use the statement at trial,” according to the website USLegal.

Cole is accused of holding a 34-year-old victim in a basement closet from May 30 to June 3, the victim told police. During that time, it is alleged he injected her roughly 30 times with a “bath salt” type drug called Molly and raped her daily at his 13 Brown Ave. residence in Cortland.

The woman said she was in the basement of Cole’s house on May 30 to get personal items when Cole injected her with drugs and raped her. She was then told to go into a closet in the basement.

Cole denied the allegations to police in a statement. He stated that he was in a relationship with the woman for a year and a half.

Campbell was frustrated Thursday as she granted Fenchel the Huntley Hearing in early October.

“Don’t play games with me, sir. We had a hearing scheduled today,” Campbell said of his late request to cancel.

This move also caught Assistant District Attorney Jessica Weyant and District Attorney Patrick Perfetti off-guard.

“This is highly irregular. In almost a quarter of a century (practicing law), I’ve never seen a defense council withdraw its request,” Perfetti said.

Perfetti said that the defense counsel was also arguing about matters not related to Huntley Hearing, including evidence testing of DNA samples.

Cole, 58, will have one more hearing on Dec. 19 before his Jan. 21 trial.

Cole is charged with:

  • first-degree rape — three counts;
  • second-degree assault — six counts;
  • third-degree possession of a weapon — five counts;
  • first-degree unlawful imprisonment — four counts; and
  • second-degree unlawful imprisonment — five counts.

Campbell set his bail at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond and he pleaded not guilty to the accusations during his arraignment in August.