An apartment maintenance manager accused of using his master key to enter an apartment and rape the tenant in March pleaded guilty to burglary Wednesday but escaped prosecution on the rape charges after the recent death of the victim.
Lee R. McNutt, 40, was sentenced to six months in jail, which he already served.
The reduction in charges comes after the 47-year-old tenant who said McNutt raped her died of natural causes, said Amanda Fry, the deputy prosecuting attorney on the case. Court documents filed at the time of McNutt’s arrest indicated she was so sick that she couldn’t fight off her attacker.
The tenant called 911 shortly after 2 a.m. on March 25 to report she had been raped at the Aspen Grove Apartments, 12204 E. Fourth Ave, according to court documents.
McNutt was found naked and hiding in the woman’s bedroom closet by Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies.
He was originally charged with first-degree rape, first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, harassment – threats to kill and unlawful imprisonment.
She told detectives she was asleep in her apartment when McNutt used his master key to enter her residence. She said McNutt then raped her.
At one point during the hours-long assault, she suggested McNutt try on her clothes, since he liked looking at them, she told police. While McNutt was in her closet, she called 911.
McNutt maintained his innocence related to the alleged rape in court Wednesday.
He told investigators the two had consensual sex.
Melissa Haney, McNutt’s public defender, told the court the two had a sexual relationship prior to the alleged rape and said there were inconsistencies in the woman’s statement.
McNutt has no felony criminal history, Haney said.
After hearing of the tenant’s death, Fry said the prosecutor’s office evaluated their evidence and felt a reduction in charges was the right resolution for the case.
McNutt told the court he will “gratefully take this blessing and opportunity to restructure my life.”
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Timothy Fennessy also noted how difficult the case was before sentencing McNutt to the six months. Because he already served the time in jail, McNutt was set to be released Wednesday afternoon.
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