|Judge delays decision on plea agreement until sentencing hearing|
Monday, June 25, 2012
By K.A. WAGONER AND KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writers
A Boones Mill man who offered a guilty plea to sexual battery Friday in Franklin County Circuit Court will have to wait until Aug. 6 to hear the judge's decision regarding his plea agreement.
Nathan Wayne Wheat, 31, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge as part of an agreement with the Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, according to prosecutor Robert Deatherage. The agreement called for Wheat to serve 12 months in jail, the maximum punishment for the misdemeanor charge.
However, Judge W.N. Alexander II delayed any action on the case until Wheat's sentencing hearing, set for Aug. 6 at 3:15 p.m.
Wheat was initially charged with rape in connection with an incident that occurred about 3 a.m. on Jan. 25, 2011, at a residence on Dogwood Park Drive in Rocky Mount, Deatherage said.
The 43-year-old victim told police Wheat visited her residence and followed her to her bedroom when she went to retrieve her soda, Deatherage said. She said Wheat started touching and kissing her and had intercourse with her against her will.
The victim said she took a shower and flushed the condom he had used when Wheat left her house, Deatherage said.
By the time the victim reported the incident to police 24 hours later and was examined at the hospital, no forensic evidence was found, Deatherage said. Also, no DNA evidence was recovered from the scene.
"The physical evidence in this case was slim," Deatherage said. "So the victim chose the plea instead of taking a chance that we would not be able to meet the burden of proof at trial."
On Friday morning, Alexander said the rape case could be tried even without DNA evidence.