Man accepts plea deal in rape case

This story was published on Sept. 22, 2005 on Page B3 in edition 1, 2 of the Bangor Daily News

BELFAST – Shortly before his jury trial was to begin Tuesday, a Lincolnville man accused of kidnapping and raping a Camden woman accepted a plea agreement that puts him behind bars for eight years.

William “Billy” Rankin, 39, pleaded guilty to kidnapping, aggravated assault, terrorizing and violation of conditions of release in exchange for the dismissal of three counts of kidnapping and one count each of gross sexual assault and assault.

“We are very pleased with the sentence,” Deputy District Attorney Leane Zainea said Wednesday.

In explaining the dismissals, Zainea said the four counts of kidnapping are based on various crime theories, but are essentially one count.

She also pointed out that the assault was a lesser charge that would have kicked in had there not been an aggravated assault conviction.

Defense attorney Eric Morse of Rockland could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

On the kidnapping charge, Rankin was sentenced to 17 years in prison with all but eight years suspended, according to Zainea.

For the guilty plea on aggravated assault he received eight years; terrorizing, five years; and violation of conditions of release, six months – all to be served concurrent with the kidnapping sentence, she said.

He must serve six years of probation when he is released from prison.

In August 2004, Rankin kidnapped and allegedly raped the victim, when at the same time he was free on post-conviction bail for a previous assault on the same woman.

He was convicted in July 2004 of an assault charge for which he received 364 days in jail, but with all but 60 days suspended. He had a stay of execution of that sentence until early September 2004.

In the Aug. 6, 2004, incident in Lincolnville, Rankin allegedly raped and assaulted the woman, whom he had imprisoned against her will.

While out on $700,000 surety bail, he was charged in March with cocaine possession, and then was held without bail.