Donald McAndie could go to trial in April

Barring a plea deal between the state and defense, Donald McAndie will be heading to trial this spring.

At a hearing Thursday afternoon in Hood River Circuit Court, Judge Paul Crowley set aside April 16-18 for a trial date for the former Stevenson High School teacher and audio technician in Hood River and The Dalles accused of rape and kidnapping.

Crowley said the tentative scheduling of the trial date would not preclude McAndie from being able to reach a plea bargain with the state.

During the hearing Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen said a plea had been extended to Rasmussen through his attorney Jan Wyers.

Wyers said that McAndie was not prepared to enter a plea and would like to a request a trial date.

However, when Rasmussen pointed out to him that by requesting a trial date, he would be rejecting any plea offer, Wyers responded that “We don’t want to reject any plea offer.”

At a previous hearing, Crowley had requested that lawyers on both sides resolve their issues over a right to a speedy trial.

However neither side appeared prepared to address what Crowley called a “constitutional issue” Thursday.

Crowley also asked Wyers when he felt he would be able to enter an informed plea for his client. Wyers responded that he “could not say with any certainty” and that he was proceeding “as rapidly as possible” to discuss the state’s plea offer with McAndie.

With plea discussions up in the air, Crowley said he wanted to set aside a possible trial date should the case wind up going to trial.

After both sides estimated a trial of three to five days, Crowley set aside the April dates.

He also requested a status check with both attorneys appearing in person before that date (both attorneys attended the hearing via telephone and McAndie appeared via video conference from NORCOR).

Rasmussen informed Crowley that the state’s plea offer expires March 4, and Wyers responded that “we should have a status check well before that.”

The “status check” hearing will be held Feb. 11 at 10:30 a.m. at which point it will likely be determined whether or not the case will proceed to trial.

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