LOGAN — The COVID-19 pandemic is further delaying the trial for a 23-year-old Providence man charged with raping three woman in 2017 and 2018. Wyatt D. Martin has been in jail since being arrested 21 months ago.
Martin appeared by web conference during a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Tuesday morning. He was previously charged with two counts of rape, two counts object rape and one count of aggravated kidnapping, all first-degree felonies; along with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony; possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; and three misdemeanors. The charges are part of three separate cases.
Defense attorney Jeanne Campbell expressed disappointment that Martin’s latest four-day trial, scheduled for the end of July, was going to be cancelled again because of current health precautions, given by the Utah Supreme Court. She said it was frustrating to wait for regulations to be lifted.
Judge Thomas Willmore agreed with Campbell, explaining that it was concerning to him that Martin is having to wait longer to get a fair trial. He said though, the Utah Supreme Court’s Order is clear, prohibiting all in-court trials and hearings because of the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The trial will involve the first victim, who claimed Martin raped her during a party at his home on September 22, 2018. She said the assault took place in his bedroom, after she had been pressured to drink alcohol by other party goers.
The woman told police how Martin ripped her shirt off and threw her on a bed as she told him “no” and resisted. He allegedly told her to, “Just let it happen.” She also described trying to push the defendant away until he threatened to tie her up with a strap. She explained that she later had to seek medical care at a hospital because of the severity of her injuries after the rape.
During Tuesday’s court appearance, Judge Thomas Willmore scheduled a status hearing for August 25, when the court may have more information on when trials can resume.
Martin has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, claiming that he was falsely accused. He is being held in the Cache County Jail without bail and could face up to life in prison if convicted.