A Bismarck man accused of raping a woman in his home pleaded not guilty Monday.
Theordore Jenkins, 54, pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony gross sexual imposition in connection with a late-June incident in Bismarck. Both counts carry a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. He also pleaded not guilty to interfering with an emergency call, a lesser felony.
Police Officer Adam Lane testified that a woman had flagged him down as he was patrolling and said Jenkins had sexually assaulted her at his residence. She accused Jenkins of slapping her when she tried to get away and throwing her phone out of reach when she tried to call 911.
The two met earlier in the evening at a convenience store, where Jenkins allegedly offered her a ride to a soup kitchen, a police affidavit said. He gave her a ride to his home instead and the two went inside to watch television, police say.
Jenkins denied the woman's allegations, according to Lane.
Jenkins' attorney, James Loraas, questioned Lane about evidence gathered during the investigation. Lane confirmed that no DNA was collected, the woman was not examined by a medical professional and officers did not go to the site of the alleged incident to gather evidence.
Against his lawyer’s advice, Jenkins asked South Central District Judge Daniel Borgen if he could question Lane. Borgen said the purpose of the preliminary hearing was not to show guilt or innocence but to determine if the case should go to trial, at which Jenkins or his attorney could question witnesses.
“I want to speak on my own behalf until I get a different lawyer,” Jenkins said. He did not give a reason for the request.
Borgen set a trial date of Nov. 15.