Plea deal deadlocked for Providence man charged with raping woman at his home

Booking photo for Richard R. Cornell (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)

LOGAN — The rape case involving a 72-year-old Providence man may be headed to trial after attorneys said they have been unable to work out a plea agreement. Richard R. Cornell is in the Cache County Jail, since being arrested in March.

Cornell was in 1st District Court for a pre-trial conference Monday morning, appearing by video from jail. He was previously charged with object rape and two counts of forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies; attempted forcible sodomy, and, two counts of forcible sexual abuse, all second-degree felonies.

Public defender Diane Pitcher told the court, Ryan Holdaway and prosecutors are still working on the case but are a long way from a possible resolution. She explained that conditions for a plea deal may be difficult to work out and the case might have to go to trial.

On March 2, deputies were called after the alleged victim went to CAPSA for help. She described how she had been raped by Cornell, who was an acquaintance.

The woman called Cornell from the sheriff’s office, so deputies could record the conversation. The suspect apologized to her and said it never should have happened. He then allegedly stated that he had prayed about it, and she should go home, “take a shower, and forget it ever happened.”

Deputies responded to the home where the alleged assault took place. They were able to collect several pieces of physical evidence.

Investigators also questioned Cornell, who previously worked in law enforcement, military police and federal court security. He refused to cooperate without his lawyer.

Deputies noted that Cornell was still wearing the same clothes the victim described him having on when the rape occurred. They also filed for a warrant to collect his DNA.

During Monday’s hearing, Judge Brian Cannell ordered Cornell to appear again in court May 4.

No date was set for the jury trial. The Utah State Supreme Court has ordered the postponement of all trials because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cornell remains in jail on $50,000 bail. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.

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