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Defendant in Roanoke rape case pleads to reduced charges

Defendant in Roanoke rape case pleads to reduced charges

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A Moneta man saw two felony sexual assault charges against him drastically reduced at a hearing Friday in Roanoke Circuit Court.

Donald Lee Woolwine III pleaded no contest to counts of assault and battery and sexual abuse, both misdemeanors, and received a total of two years, suspended after 12 months.

He will also be on probation for two years, must have no contact with the victim, must undergo treatment and testing for drug and alcohol abuse, and will have to register with the state as a sex offender. According to his agreement, once he completes probation he will be taken off that registry.

Woolwine, 32, initially was charged with rape and aggravated sexual battery by force with injury, following an alleged attack at a home in May. He was arrested in July and has been held without bond since then. His lawyer said in court that with credit for the time he’s already served, he was expected to be released sometime Friday.

The case was set to be heard by a jury later this month, and defense attorneys had filed motions seeking to suppress Woolwine’s text messages, as well as statements he gave to police.

A prosecutor at Friday’s hearing said that the risk of going to trial had prompted the plea agreement, and that while the complainant in the case felt the resolution was not ideal they understood the reasons behind it.

Contact Neil Harvey at neil.harvey@roanoke.com or 981-3376. On Twitter @newsharvey.

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