Airmen plead not guilty, trial scheduled

Airmen plead not guilty, trial scheduled. (ABC 7 Amarillo)

Three Cannon Air Force Base airmen pleaded not guilty to a rape charge on Thursday in Clovis District Court.

Senior Airman Thomas Newton, Airman First Class Isiah Edley and Airman First Class Rahman Buchanan were indicted on February 9 for criminal sexual penetration in the second degree.

READ MORE: 3 Cannon AFB airmen indicted, family speaks out

The defendants have remained in the Curry County Adult Detention Center since January, because three judges denied conditions of release and bonds due to flight risks concerns, the court's lack of jurisdiction over the air force base and the seriousness of the crime.

According to the Eastern New Mexico News, the defense attorneys are appealing the detention status in appellate court because they believe the district court did not follow the law.

In a statement to Eastern New Mexico News, Edley's attorney Craig Acorn stated, “Our main point, and probably it’s true of all of us, all of the defendants, is that the court really didn’t follow the law in ordering preventative detention. They have to look at a weight of evidence and a lot of factors that have to do with propensity of danger. The weight of the evidence was quite light,” said Acorn. “We feel fairly confident the Court of Appeals is going to look at that and say ‘You abused your discretion.’ This is one of the reasons we chose to appeal it directly to the appellate court rather than asking it to be reconsidered (in district court),” he explained to the News.

Eastern New Mexico News also noted that a trial has been tentatively scheduled for June. Court records show a scheduling conference has been planned for March 19.

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