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Saturday, December 14, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Trial opens for man accused of raping wife

The trial of a Spokane man charged with sexually assaulting his wife at gunpoint started Wednesday – the same man who is charged with kidnapping his wife six days later, along with her lover, and attempting to push the boyfriend off the Wandermere Bridge.

Attorneys on Wednesday gave opening statements in the trial of David Earl Epley, 36, who is charged with first-degree rape, unlawful imprisonment and two counts of witness tampering for an incident that occurred on May 6, 2009.

Deputy Prosecutor Kyle Treece made no mention during opening arguments of the alleged kidnapping incident, which occurred on May 12, 2009. Spokane County Sheriff’s Detective Tim Hines said that the kidnapping and attempted first-degree murder case will be tried separately.

Treece told the jury that Epley “held his wife at gunpoint,” during the earlier alleged sexual assault. “The day this occurred, he told his boys what to say” to deputies, Treece said. “Then, two weeks later, he sends a letter to his family, telling his boys what to say. That is witness tampering.”

Defense attorney Gloria Ochoa cautioned the jury that the case is not as simple as Treece made it out. She described a rocky 10-year marriage where Epley and his wife struggled to stay together as they raised their three children.

Things spiraled out of control when the wife met a guitar instructor and began having a relationship with him, Ochoa said.

The night before the reported sexual assault, the wife spent the night with the other man. When she came home, she and Epley began to argue.

“No one is asking you to check your common sense at the door,” Ochoa told the jury. “He’s upset. She says, ‘Let’s not talk in front of the children.’ So they go upstairs to the bedroom.”

Ochoa said Epley “got very frustrated. He slammed his hand against the wall.” The wife grabbed a gun, but “at no point did Mr. Epley rape her … or use a gun.”

But Treece said Epley has given at least four versions of how that day unfolded.

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