Not guilty plea entered in Glenwood rape case
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A Glenwood Springs man accused of allegedly kidnapping and raping a Denver woman nearly two years ago is headed to trial.
Matthew Donald Weaver, 24, pleaded not guilty to felony counts of second-degree kidnapping and sexual assault Thursday in Garfield County District Court.
Weaver is accused of forcing the victim into a narrow alley between buildings near the intersection of Grand Avenue and 10th Street in Glenwood Springs, and forcing her to have sex with him on June 21, 2008.
Judge Daniel Petre of the Ninth Judicial District Court set a five-day trial to begin Oct. 25. A pretrial motions hearing was set for Aug. 16.
Petre ruled at a pretrial motion in April that sufficient evidence exists to support a trial in the case. At that time, Weaver’s attorney, Mark Rubinstein, told the judge that he hoped a resolution could be reached between the defense and prosecution to avoid a trial. That didn’t happen.
“We are here today to exercise Matthew Weaver’s right to trial,” Rubinstein told Petre Thursday. “He is pleading not guilty to all charges.”
Weaver has been held in the Garfield County jail since his arrest on Jan. 9, 2010. Glenwood police arrested Weaver 18 months after the alleged incident, when the Colorado Bureau of Investigation released examination results of a semen sample taken from the victim’s pants; the sample allegedly identified Weaver as a potential suspect. Prosecutors charged Weaver a few days later.
Glenwood Springs Police Detective John Hassell testified at a preliminary hearing in April that the victim told him that she knew Weaver and had spoken with him outside a bar in downtown Glenwood Springs minutes before the alleged incident.
According to the arrest affidavit, the victim told police that after she spoke with Weaver, she continued south on Grand Avenue, when she was approached from behind at approximately 2:30 a.m. The victim told authorities that she was forcibly guided into the alley and raped. The victim also told authorities that she felt like she should try to fight off the offender, but that “she just froze,” the affidavit states.
At a followup interview in 2010, the victim identified Weaver, in a photo lineup, as “Matt,” the man she spoke with moments before being assaulted. However, she was unable to positively say if it was Weaver who forced her into the alley and allegedly raped her.
Hassell also testified at the preliminary hearing in April that Weaver’s wife at the time told him that she witnessed Weaver walking in the vicinity of the alleged crime scene around the time of the incident.
If convicted of the charges, Weaver faces life in prison.