Walla Walla man's rape trial postponed

Herman Rankin Jr. is accused of attacking a woman at knifepoint in July.

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WALLA WALLA -- Trial for a local man charged with raping a woman at his apartment on Ash Street in July has been postponed in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Herman Rankin Jr., 50, of 305 Ash, Apt. 313, initially was scheduled for trial Sept. 27 on the charge of first-degree rape. But his trial has been reset to begin Nov. 3.

The case stems from a report that 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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