December 2, 2021

Cole testifies, denies charges

Rape, kidnapping case resumes after delay

Kevin L. Smith/staff reporter

Defense attorney Luke Fenchel, left, and Raymond Cole jr. — who has been charged with rape and kidnapping — listen to the first defense witness Monday in Cole’s trial, resuming after a coronavirus-inspired delay.

Raymond Cole, Jr., testifying Monday in his own defense, denied he raped a woman, denied he held her against her will for four days and denied he drugged her, although he said he did give her drugs.

Testimony resumed in Cortland County Court after a nearly four-month COVID-19 pandemic-inspired delay in the case of Cole, who was indicted on drugged, raped and held a 34-yearold woman captive in his 13 Brown Ave.,Cortland, residence from May 30 to June 3, 2019.

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

Defense attorney Rob DeMarco asked Cole immediately whether he drugged or raped the woman.

“Absolutely not,” Cole replied.

Cole admitted to having an intimate relationship with the woman. DeMarco asked if the woman exhibited fear of him, and Cole said she didn’t.

Cole also told DeMarco the woman arrived at Cole’s residence on May 30 to pick up personal items Cole had been watching for while she was in jail. Cole showed gifts for her, and gave her the opportunity to get high on drugs.

Cole said the woman “came and went as she pleased,” which included going to the Econo Lodge motel in Cortland on June 1, 2019, to take drugs once again.

Judge Julie A. Campbell ended testimony for the day about 4 p.m., before Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti or Assistant District Attorney Jessica Weyant could cross-examine Cole. Testimony continued today.

Kara Petit and Ryan Dwyer, two witnesses who testified earlier Monday, said the woman was at the motel June 1, and that the victim frequently stayed at Cole’s residence, with Dwyer saying the woman who accused Cole did drugs like Molly and heroin “pretty much every day” at the house.

“I remember her acting crazy and not being able to sit still (when she took drugs),” Dwyer said.

Petit, who said she had been friends with the victim for about four years, took multiple selfies together outside of the Econo Lodge that night as shown in evidence by Fenchel. Petit also said the victim never feared Cole “in any way.” Cole said the woman “voluntarily locked herself in the pantry from the inside” when the police arrived on the morning of June 3, 2019.

Dwyer said the woman was waiting for the police to leave.

The pantry is in the basement, where Cole slept most of the time. Cole said he trusted only certain people to go into the basement, including the woman who accused him.

“Not a lot of people went down there,” Dwyer told Perfetti.

Dwyer mentioned Cole padlocked the basement door, and he and the victim had the only keys. Perfetti asked if Cole locked the door to prevent theft, and Dwyer said “I’m sure he does.”

Cole told DeMarco the lock on the basement was simply for protection, but said he didn’t have trust issues with the others.

“It doesn’t sound like a trustworthy bunch there,” Perfetti said.