A man charged with kidnapping and sodomizing his estranged wife moments after she was granted a divorce pleaded not guilty Monday to the charges against him.
David R. Coon, 37, entered the pleas before 3rd District Judge Dennis Frederick. He also pleaded not guilty to a felony escape charge and was ordered to stand trial on May 14. Coon's attorney, Kevin Kurumada, asked for the May court date, explaining that one of the witnesses for the defense is serving with the U.S. military in Saudi Arabia.During a preliminary hearing earlier this month, Debra Locke testified that she was kidnapped and forced to perform a sex act with Coon on Nov. 5 - moments after she was granted a divorce from Coon, her husband of 13 years. Coon is charged with walking away from a prison halfway house to attend the divorce hearing.
Locke said Coon forced her into a vehicle while she was standing outside the 3rd Circuit Court building. She said Coon threatened to kill her several times, assaulted her, robbed her, sodomized her and raped her twice during an 11-hour period. Coon told her he was taking her to Las Vegas to marry her again because he wanted her to die with his last name, she said.
The two were finally located by Utah Highway Patrol troopers at a rest stop in Millard County.
Kurumada said Locke had several opportunities to escape or ask others for help, but she said she never felt she had a chance to safely get away.
Coon's case made national news after questions were raised about Utah's old rape statute, which stated that a person cannot be charged with rape or sodomy if the perpetrator is married to the victim. The 1991 Utah Legislature changed that statute, but Coon is accused of committing the crimes in 1990.
Prosecutors contend that Locke was legally divorced from Coon moments before she was kidnapped. But Kurumada argued that the divorce was not official until the divorce papers were signed three days later. A hearing will likely be held to determine the divorce question.