Man accused of rape pleads guilty to lesser charge

Kyle S. Bushman faces about 4 1/2 to six years in prison after pleading guilty to residential burglary.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man accused of raping a woman at her Walla Walla apartment last year pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to a reduced charge.

Kyle S. Bushman entered the guilty plea in Superior Court to the charge of residential burglary. He had been charged with second-degree rape, but Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Mulhern said in an interview the sex charge would have been difficult to prove had it gone to trial.

Because of Bushman's criminal history, he faces a standard-range prison term of about 4 1/2 to nearly six years when he's sentenced later. The prosecution is recommending the low end of the range in exchange for his guilty plea.

The rape charge was filed in April 2009 after the woman reported she was awakened by a knock on her front door about 7 a.m. March 29 of that year. She reportedly didn't know the man who knocked, but allowed him to enter her apartment after he asked if he could come in for a few minutes.

While there, the man allegedly raped the woman. She alerted a neighbor who saw the suspect before he left the area and recognized him as Bushman, according to a police report filed in court.

Bushman, 30, of Pullman, wasn't found immediately, but a warrant was issued for his arrest the following month.

He later was apprehended in Latah County, Idaho, on an unrelated matter, then transported to the Walla Walla County Jail Nov. 24 to face the local rape charge.

Mulhern said in the interview Bushman's guilty plea to residential burglary was a good resolution to the case. "The victim is pretty relieved to have it resolved without having to go to trial," Mulhern said. She added that a conviction on the rape charge would have been "far from a sure thing."

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

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