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Defendant misses hearing in rape case

A bench warrant was issued last week for a Pawhuska man who missed an Osage County District Court hearing on his upcoming trial on rape charges.

Christopher Beatty Harris, 28, failed to appear at the Dec. 17 hearing and was absent again for a rescheduled session two days later. As a result of the missed court appearances, a bench warrant was issued for Harris by Special Judge Stuart Tate, who also ordered forfeiture of the defendant’s $110,000 appearance bond. A new bond was set in the amount of $220,000.

Harris is facing trial on three counts of first-degree rape, plus domestic assault and battery by strangulation, burglary and kidnapping. The charges stem from an series of alleged incidents involving a former girlfriend of the defendant.

All of the incidents are claimed to have occurred April 13, 2013, in Pawhuska, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

The original charge against Harris included one rape count but two more were added following a preliminary hearing in September. Prior to that hearing, the court had agreed to a lowering of the bond amount from $200,000 to $110,000. Later modifications of the bonding requirements allowed for Harris to be employed in Tulsa.

Two weeks ago, a local attorney who had been representing Harris withdrew from the case and recent court records make no mention of any appearance by new counsel for the defense.

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