Trial date set for man in rape case

Herman Rankin Jr. allegedly attacked a woman he had offered a place to stay at his apartment last month.

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WALLA WALLA -- A local man pleaded innocent Monday afternoon in Superior Court to raping a woman at his apartment on Ash Street last month.

Herman Rankin Jr., 50, of 305 Ash, Apt. 313, is scheduled for trial Sept. 27 on the charge of first-degree rape.

Police said Rankin met the woman at another person's home July 28 and offered to let her stay at his apartment. After walking there sometime after 10 p.m., Rankin allegedly raped the woman twice at knifepoint. She told police she once tried to escape out the kitchen door, but Rankin kept her from leaving.

The following morning, he reportedly took her to pick up her backpack at a relative's home, but he didn't go inside. At the home, the woman phoned her mother, who picked her up and took her to Walla Walla General Hospital where police were notified about 7 a.m., officials said.

Rankin was arrested that afternoon at an apartment building on Catherine Street. His bail was set at $70,000.

Rankin has previous felony convictions in Mississippi for burglary and theft, and a rape conviction in Louisiana, according to officials. He was released in March this year after serving 28 years in prison.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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