By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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The jury trial for Justin Owen Sawby, 35, has been delayed from Oct. 7 to Dec. 9 after his previously appointed defense attorney, Alex Stalker of the nonprofit Clallam Public Defender, withdrew earlier this month due to a conflict.
Port Angeles defense attorney Karen Unger was appointed to defend Sawby in Stalker’s place and requested to continue the trial during an Oct. 11 Clallam County Superior Court hearing so she could she have more time to talk with her client.
Superior Court Judge Erik Rohrer granted the request after Ann Lundwall, the deputy Clallam County prosecuting attorney assigned to the case, offered no objection.
Sawby remained in the Clallam County jail Friday on $1 million bail, according to court documents.
Sawby’s trial previously was delayed to Oct. 7 from Sept. 9 after Lundwall said she would be unavailable to start trial on the earlier date.
Sawby has been charged with 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.
The charges stem from Sawby’s alleged rape of a woman he knew previously along a dirt road off Black Diamond Road the evening of July 17.
Sawby pleaded not guilty July 26.
In a Friday interview, Stalker said another person he’s representing is the defendant in a separate case involving Sawby, which constitutes a conflict.
“[It is] completely unrelated to the rape charge,” Stalker said.
According to Clallam County sheriff’s deputy accounts, Sawby asked the woman for a ride to Black Diamond Road so he could see his son.
Once the two had reached Peele Road off Black Diamond Road, Sawby allegedly threatened to kill the woman with a screwdriver he pulled from the vehicle’s glove box.
Sawby then reportedly forced his way into the driver’s seat and drove until the vehicle became stuck in a creek along a dirt road off Black Diamond Road.
The woman told deputies Sawby strangled her until she almost lost consciousness, pulled her out of the vehicle and raped her.
The woman spoke with Deputy Brandon Stoppani the evening of July 17 at Olympic Medical Center after she had been treated for her injuries.
Sawby told Stoppani the next day during an interview that the woman insisted on having sexual relations and that she had threatened to kill herself with the screwdriver.
Sawby also told Stoppani he had no knowledge of the woman’s injuries or how she got them.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.