A man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl in Ketchikan nearly 30 years ago has been indicted by a grand jury and is jail awaiting trial. 52-year-old Michael J. Williams of Saxman faces two felony counts: sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor.
His defense attorney, Leif Thompson answered the charges in Ketchikan Superior Court Friday morning.
“We will plead not guilty to the charges,” Thompson said.
He could face as many as 30 years in prison if convicted of first-degree sexual assault. The second charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Judge William Carey set what he called a “placeholder” trial date in October. But Thompson said he’ll likely need more time to prepare.
“I imagine we’re not going to be ready to go to trial in a few months. … We haven’t even seen the evidence yet,” he said.
Ketchikan police say DNA evidence links Williams to the crime. They say his DNA matches a rape kit taken from the unnamed teenage survivor at the time of the alleged assault in January 1993. The breakthrough in the cold case came as a result of a legislative push to test backlogged DNA samples at law enforcement agencies around the state, police said.
Williams’ attorney did not return a phone message left after Friday’s arraignment. On Thursday, Thompson told KRBD he likely wouldn’t offer additional comments on the case.
As of Friday afternoon, Williams is in Ketchikan Correctional Center. He’s being held on $350,000 cash bail. His attorney has asked to lower that to $20,000 cash if he’s released to a trusted third party. That request will likely be heard in the coming days, the judge said. An earlier request to reduce bail to $10,000 was denied.