October 22, 2021

Cortland rape trial to resume Monday

S.N. Briere/staff reporter

Luke Fenchel, second from left, the attorney for Raymond C. Cole Jr., shown at left, are shown here in Court March 17

The trial of a man accused of drugging, raping and holding a woman captive last year will resume Monday after a nearly three-month postponement because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Raymond Cole Jr., 59, was indicted July 19, 2019, accused of drugging, raping and holding a 34-year-old woman captive in his 13 Brown Ave., Cortland, residence from May 30 to June 3.

Police reports said the woman reported being locked in a basement closet, injected about 30 times with a “bath salt” drug known as Molly and was raped daily.

He was accused of these felonies:

  • Three counts of first-degree rape.
  • Six counts of second-degree assault.
  • Five counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
  • Four counts of first-degree unlawful imprisonment.

Cole is also charged with five counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment, a misdemeanor.

The defense will resume the trial as it calls witnesses.

The trial was postponed March 23 because one of the jurors, a medical professional, was exposed to a case of COVID-19, said Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti. Perfetti said there was little threat of exposing other jurors because the exposed juror wore proper protective equipment.

The court, though, couldn’t force other members of the jury to be near that juror, leading to the postponement, Perfetti Cole said.

Safety protocols such as wearing a mask and having jurors spread out over both jury boxes will be implemented to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, according to the county clerk’s office.

Perfetti said the pandemic did not infringe upon Cole’s rights to a speedy trial.

“The case was originally supposed to go to trial last year,” he said, noting that the delay of the case to start this year was on the part of the defense.

Defense attorney Luke Fenchel could not be reached for comment.

The trial will also continue without its alternate jurors, Perfetti said.

On March 16, one alternate replaced one of the jurors who had shingles and the other was sick and could not continue the trial.