University student pleads not guilty to rape

Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

JUNEAU - A 21-year-old man accused of raping a female roommate in their co-ed University of Alaska Southeast campus apartment last month pleaded not guilty Tuesday to five counts of felony sexual assault.

Dominic Merrill was arrested Jan. 28 on one count of sexual assault in the first degree, an unclassified felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. The case was brought before a grand jury last week to see if there was enough evidence for an indictment.

On Friday, the grand jury returned an indictment charging Merrill with five counts of sexual assault in the first degree, punishable by up to 495 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Merrill's attorney on Tuesday requested a jury trial, which Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins set for May 17. Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams told Collins the trial could last as long as seven days.

Merrill, a student from Arizona, allegedly raped his roommate in the early morning hours of Jan. 23 after they returned from an on-campus social gathering where alcohol was consumed. He is presently being held in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on $25,000 bail.



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