ITHACA, N.Y. — A Dryden man accused of assaulting and raping a woman in March was arraigned at the Tompkins County Court Thursday afternoon on a new charge last week.
Jeffrey L. Horton, 52, was charged with second-degree criminal contempt on Friday after his accuser said he called her from an unknown number and asked to talk to her, according to court records from the Dryden Town Court. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In court, Horton’s attorney Luke Fenchel, of Holmberg Galbraith law firm, said Horton’s wife and son were with him when the alleged incident happened and were not given the opportunity to testify on his behalf that the call didn’t occur in the Dryden Town Court Friday.
“She told me as well as attempted to tell the court…,” Fenchel said.
Nearly a dozen people were in attendance at the arraignment in support of Horton, including the man’s wife and father.
During the proceeding, Assistant District Attorney Wendy Franklin and Fenchel said they had not proven whether Horton called the victim on the night he’s accused of doing so, but a subpoena — requested by Fenchel — has been issued to determine more details about the call, such as who owns the phone the call was made from.
DNA sample approved by court
Franklin applied for a buccal swab sample from Horton, which she said in court could possibly be matched to at least a beer can and cigarette butt found at the scene.
Fenchel argued in court, however that Franklin made the motion for the sample more than 120 days after the 45-day timeframe legally allowed. The exemption from that timeframe is permitted if the court determines “good cause” can be shown to extend the time allowed to make the motion.
Franklin, who initially said she never heard of the 45-day timeframe, argued that her reasonable cause for the motion is that there were initial talks about the case possibly being resolved as a plea deal as opposed to taking it to trial.
Judge Rowley granted the sample even though he said Franklin had not proved good cause because the fundamental issue is prejudice to defendant. He said Fenchel would have the opportunity to have the DNA independently analyzed.
A February trail date is tentatively set for Horton, Rowley said.
“We do believe that $150,000 for a misdemeanor is extraordinarily high,” Fenchel said about the most recent bail issued by the Dryden Town Court.
Horton was already out on $100,000 bail for the 16-count indictment when he was rearrested, meaning his total bail was $250,000.
“She’s extremely concerned for her safety,” Franklin said about the victim, encouraging the judge to keep Horton in jail without bail until the conclusion of the trial.
Rowley set Horton’s total bail at $150,000 cash bail or $300,000 bond, which covers both the indictment and new misdemeanor charge. He’s still in jail as of Thursday evening.
After the proceedings, Fenchel said that he will be requesting that Rowley reevaluate Horton’s release status after receiving the outcome of the subpoenaed phone records.
Clarification: An addition has been added to this story to clarify that Rowley did not find that Franklin showed good cause for the buccal swab but allowed the motion because the fundamental issue is prejudice to the defendant.