Erwin pleads insanity in rape, beating of elderly woman |

Erwin pleads insanity in rape, beating of elderly woman

The Rifle man accused of raping and beating a 77-year-old woman on Nov. 30 pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Monday in Ninth District Court.

Donald Franklin Erwin, 42, faces seven charges, including attempted first-degree murder and sexual assault on an at-risk adult.

After his plea was entered, Erwin was ordered by District Judge J.E. DeVilbiss to undergo a sanity and competency evaluation at Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.

A hearing to set a trial date is set for July 8. That hearing, however, could be delayed if the evaluation is not complete or if Erwin is deemed unfit for trial, said Deputy District Attorney Gretchen Larsen.

Erwin’s not guilty by reason of insanity plea was the second filed in Ninth District Court this year. Steven Michael Stagner, accused of killing four people in Rifle last July, also entered such a plea on Jan. 22.

Erwin was arrested on Dec. 3, 2001, in Glenwood Springs. His bond, originally set at $101,500, has since been raised to $500,000.

Erwin remains in the Garfield County Jail. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

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