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Pa. man charged in rape turns down plea deal

March 09, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Waynesboro, Pa., man charged with rape in one of four criminal cases he faces turned down a plea agreement Wednesday in Franklin County Court for a sentence of 10 to 20 years and now faces up to 86 years in prison if convicted.

Judge Carol Van Horn told Michael B. Stahley he would not be offered the same terms if he changes his mind before his trial, scheduled for April 5. Jury selection for his case is set for Monday.

The judge told Stahley, 23, of 125 N. Grant St., that the penalties he faces at trial "are significantly higher than the plea agreement involved."

The offer Stahley turned down would have resolved all four of the cases against him, Assistant District Attorney T.R. Williams said. The trial, however, covers just the one case, in which Stahley is charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated assault, burglary, terroristic threats and theft, according to court records.

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"The other cases will be out there for resolution in the future," Van Horn told Stahley.

Stahley was charged by Waynesboro police in an alleged sexual assault on a Waynesboro woman on May 22, 2004. The affidavit stated the woman had been at a tavern that night with Stahley and several other people and he and two other people walked her to her North Church Street apartment.

The woman went to bed but was awakened at about 3 a.m. by a man who threatened her with a knife. She ran to the kitchen where she knocked the knife out of his hand, but he took her back to the bedroom, beating and sexually assaulting her, police said.

She ran to the kitchen again, but the man got another knife, took her back to the bedroom and assaulted her again, police said. The woman then pretended to be unconscious and the man left, police said.

The woman, who was present in court Wednesday, sustained a knife wound to her left arm and smaller cuts, two bite marks, swelling around the eyes, extensive bruising and had a earring ripped from her ear in the assault, police said.

The woman identified Stahley as her assailant, police said.

Williams Wednesday would not comment on whether the prosecution has DNA evidence linking Stahley to the rape.

At the time of the assault, Stahley was already charged with burglary, simple assault and criminal trespass in connection with incidents in December of 2003, according to court documents.

In one incident a man tried to crawl through the kitchen window of a woman's apartment on Elder Avenue, but fled when she spotted him, police said. The other occurred about 30 minutes later when a man broke into a North Church Street apartment, physically assaulting and choking a woman and her daughter before fleeing, police said.

Stahley was picked up a short time later walking in Washington Township. Police said the victims identified Stahley and his shoes matched prints left in the snow outside the Elder Avenue apartment.

The other pending case against Stahley charges him with fleeing or eluding police and recklessly endangering other people. On May 23, police chased his vehicle through Waynesboro at speeds up to 60 mph in an attempt to take him into custody for the May 22 rape charge, according to the affidavit.

After he was caught, police discovered the 2-year-old son of Stahley's girlfriend was in the vehicle during the pursuit.

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