Accused rapist's trial moved to June start

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WALLA WALLA — A new trial date has been set for a man accused of trying to rape a woman at a local residence in November.

The proceeding for Brendan F. Nichols, 34, now is scheduled to begin June 25 in Superior Court.

This is the second time the trial has been postponed. It initially was set to start Jan. 23, then was rescheduled for Feb. 20.

Nichols has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charge of second-degree attempted rape, in addition to charges of third-degree assault, fourth-degree assault and two counts of harassment.

He allegedly tried to rape the woman about 10:15 p.m. Nov. 10 and struck a man — who tried to intervene — in the jaw.

Nichols is acquainted with both victims, officials said.

He also fought with responding officers, struck and scratched one officer and threatened to kill two of them, according to a police report filed in court.

Nichols — who allegedly admitted he had been using marijuana and cocaine — was booked into the County Jail after being restrained at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

A sanity evaluation later was authorized at the request of the defense. The evaluation was to be paid at public expense by Walla Walla County, but the court file doesn’t reveal whether it’s been completed.

Since then, in February, Nichols retained local attorney William McCool to represent him, replacing a court-appointed lawyer.

Nichols was ordered released from jail March 22 after $50,000 bail was posted and is to live at a specific residence pending further court proceedings.

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