Natrona County Man Accused of Raping Wife Ruled Competent to Stand Trial
A man who allegedly told an investigator "I did not know it was illegal to rape my wife," is set to stand trial after being ruled competent to do so Friday morning.
Natrona County District Judge Thomas Sullins referenced an April 4 report from a forensic psychologist at the Wyoming State Hospital which found 48-year-old James Erwin Furley is competent to face trial and can adequately participate in his own legal defense.
Neither Assistant District Attorney Brett Johnson nor defense attorney Zak Szekely disputed the psychologist's finding.
Furley is charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault for allegedly forcing his wife to have sex with him on May 24, 2016 and June 7. He could face 15 to 150 years in prison if convicted on all three counts.
Charging papers say the victim reported the alleged assaults on June 25. She reportedly said Furley assaulted her twice on June 7, despite her telling him to stop.
"The more you beg, the more I'm going to keep doing it," Furley allegedly told the victim during the second assault.
According to court documents, the victim told the investigator that Furley had raped her numerous times during their marriage. She said she was scared of Furley and planned to divorce him.
Since she planned to leave Furley, the victim said she made audio recordings of her interactions with him for several months in order to demonstrate how Furley treated her and their children when no one else was around.
The victim presented the investigator with a series of audio recordings. The investigator reviewed those recordings and detailed two alleged assaults in his affidavit.
A recording from the morning of June 11 contains Furley's alleged admission to sexually assaulting the victim.
"The more you resisted, the more I liked it," Furley allegedly told the victim.
The victim had an anonymous sexual assault examination done at Wyoming Medical Center a couple of days after the alleged assaults on June 7 and gave permission for the Natrona County Sheriff's Office to use the biological kit from that exam during the investigation.
Records from the biological kit showed the victim had injuries consistent with her claim that Furley raped her.
The investigator interviewed Furley on the afternoon of June 30. During that interview, Furley reportedly said he never continued any sexual intercourse with the victim if she told him to stop.
Then, the investigator played the victim's audio recordings of the alleged assaults.
After hearing the recordings, Furley reportedly said he had "taken things too far."
"I did not know it was illegal to rape my wife," Furley allegedly told the investigator.
During the competency hearing Friday morning, Judge Sullins set the case for an Aug. 28 trial.
Furley agreed to continue to waive his right to a speedy trial, as proceedings have exceeded the 180-day limit provided in the Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure. Sullins made it clear that he wanted to avoid any more delays.
Furley was first arraigned in District Court in September.
"Absent exceptional showing, there's going to be no further continuances in this case," Sullins said before adjourning Friday's hearing.