Port Angeles man accused of rape pleads not guilty

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man accused of raping a woman along a dirt road off Black Diamond Road will next appear in court in mid-August after pleading not guilty as charged Friday.

Justin Owen Sawby, 35, pleaded not guilty to one count each of first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault with a deadly weapon with sexual motivation, second-degree assault-strangulation and harassment-threats to kill.

Sawby next will appear in Clallam County Superior Court on Aug. 16 for a status hearing, while a preliminary jury trial date has been set for Sept. 9.

Sawby remained in the Clallam County jail Saturday with bail set at $1 million, according to court documents.

Deputy’s account

A Clallam County Sheriff’s Office account filed in the case gave this account of the events that lead to Sawby’s arrest:

The woman Sawby is accused of assaulting and raping told Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Stoppani that Sawby had asked her to drive him to Black Diamond Road so Sawby could see his son the evening of July 17.

As the two reached Peele Road near Black Diamond Road, Sawby allegedly threatened the woman with a screwdriver and got into the driver’s seat.

The truck got stuck in a creek after Sawby drove it down a nearby dirt road.

Sawby reportedly strangled the woman until she almost lost consciousness and, outside the truck, knocked her to the ground before tying her arms behind her back and trying to drag her along the road.

Sawby then allegedly raped the woman on the dirt road and tried to again while the two were walking along the road before stopping his advances after the woman told him her head hurt from being struck.

In an interview the next day, Sawby told Stoppani he had no knowledge of the woman’s injuries or how she got them.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 27. 2013 5:32PM
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