Defendant changes plea to innocent in rape case

April 17, 1996|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

A Columbia man, scheduled to be sentenced after pleading guilty to rape charges, changed his mind yesterday and proclaimed his innocence.

Neither Joseph Wayne Freeman, 35, nor his attorney could be reached for comment as to why they changed his plea. A motion filed by Mr. Freeman's attorney says Mr. Freeman pleaded guilty in February because he was afraid of the possible publicity a trial might bring. He also expressed fears "of never seeing his daughter grow up."

Mr. Freeman is accused of raping a woman at knifepoint at his home on Cartersville Road last July. The charging document states Mr. Freeman brought the woman to his house, where they watched a movie. But as she tried to leave, the charging document says, Mr. Freeman locked the door, dragged her into the bedroom with a knife and raped her repeatedly.

The woman was a co-worker of Mr. Freeman's at the Lorien Nursing Home on Cedar Lane in Columbia's Hickory Ridge village, according to court records.

In 1993, Mr. Freeman was charged in Georgia with sodomizing a 14-year-old girl, the charging document says. He also has been charged with assaults in Texas and a hit-and-run in Howard County, the records say. The disposition of those cases could not be determined yesterday.

Pub Date: 4/17/96

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