Booking photo for Richard R. Cornell (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)
LOGAN — The upcoming trial for a 74-year-old Providence man charged with raping a woman more than a year ago has been cancelled after the defendant pleaded guilty. Richard R. Cornell has been behind bars since being arrested March 2, 2020.
Cornell participated in a pretrial conference in 1st District Court Wednesday afternoon. He accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony; and forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.
Defense attorney Shannon Demler said as part of the settlement, prosecutors decided to drop the four remaining charges. They had also agreed to recommend the sentences for the two crimes run together, and the defendant be given credit for time already served.
In March 2020, Cache County sheriff’s deputies were called after the 19-year-old woman went to CAPSA for help. She described how Cornell, who was an acquaintance, had entered her bedroom and started molesting her. He then forcefully removed her clothes and raped her, telling her not to talk to anyone about what had happened.
The woman called Cornell from the sheriff’s office, so deputies could record the conversation. The suspect apologized to her and said it never should have happened. He then stated that he had prayed about it, and she should go home, “take a shower, and forget it ever happened.”
Investigators responded to Cornell’s residence and found him still wearing the same clothes the victim described him having on when the rape occurred. They also filed for a warrant to collect his DNA.
Cornell spoke only briefly during Wednesday’s hearing. He said he was willing to waive his right to a fair trail and admitted to the crimes.
Judge Brian Cannell accepted Cornell’s guilty plea and ordered the defendant to undergo a presentence report about his criminal history.
Cornell remains in the Cache County Jail. He was scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 8, and could face up to life in prison.