Man charged with rape in Payne County pleads to lesser count of aggravated assault

A former Stillwater resident facing first-degree rape charges had those charges dismissed this week at the request of the Payne County District Attorney’s office and instead pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and battery.

Luke Weston Harrison, 26, received a deferred sentence on a seven-year prison term, and will serve 30 days in jail, complete 75 hours of community serve and be under court supervision for 18 months.

Harrison had been accused of rape in connection with a May 2017 incident at The Reserve on Perkins after a witness told police she saw Harrison with a partially undressed woman she described as being unconscious. According to a probable cause affidavit filed in October that year, the group of people had been consuming alcohol, the alleged victim said she remembered talking to Harrison, but got tired and drowsy and her memory was “fuzzy.”

The friend of the alleged victim told police that she and Harrison had helped take the alleged victim to back to the apartments, but left Harrison and the alleged victim alone. She said she heard a loud crash, went to the room and saw Harrison kissing the alleged victim. She told police she left to make a phone call and returned to find Harrison in the kitchen with his shirt off, when she yelled at him to leave and he left. She told police that she returned to the room to find the alleged victim with her private areas exposed and not responding to nudging or shouting at her to wake.

According to the affidavit, a Stillwater police officer's investigation began after the alleged victim was brought to Stillwater Medical Center, and concluded with test results from the victim's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.) exam. DNA swabs were collected from the alleged victim. The SANE nurse recorded in notes "trauma found on the physical exam" and "trauma found on the genitalia exam."

DNA swabs were collected from Harrison after a warrant. These were analyzed by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The OSBI reported that no seminal fluid was collected from any of the swabs. The OSBI criminalist told the investigating officer that the test results indicated only contributors from the paternal side of Harrison's family could have placed the Y chromosome that was found in the results of the victim's SANE exam.

The victim told the officer she didn't know any of Harrison's paternal family members and that she did not give Harrison consent or permission to engage in any type of sexual activity. A blood alcohol test submitted in the OSBI report registered approximatley 0.123 for the alleged victim. A test for other illicit drugs like opioids and tranquilizers turned up negative.

In December of 2018, a jury trial was scheduled for July 9, 2019. During an April 16 discovery compliance, both parties advised the court that they were complying with discovery codes. Harrison’s attorneys submitted a witness list and exhibits to the court on June 19. The list included people who were at the "pool party," and according to the defense, text messages between witnesses who were at the party. A week before the trial was to begin, both parties waived the jury trial and set Tuesday as the date for the plea. 

In the basis for his plea to assault, Harrison wrote and signed, “On or about the 6th day of May, 2017, I, being 23 years of age at the time and in robust health and strength, did unlawfully, willfully and wrongfully throw a person, who was at the time incapacitated, against a metal bed frame with the intent to cause her injury.”

Harrison was ordered to surrender himself to jail supervision Tuesday.

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