March trial set for Columbus firefighter


A Columbus firefighter accused of rape, gross sexual imposition and kidnapping decided not to change his plea Wednesday morning and stated that he wanted to take the case to trial again.

Timothy Durbin, 52, of Columbus, originally went to trial on July 26 and after several days the jury told Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Everett Krueger that they could not reach a verdict and a mistrial was declared.

Durbin was indicted by a Delaware County grand jury on Dec. 18, 2015, and charged with four counts of rape, which are first-degree felonies; two counts of gross sexual imposition, which are third-degree felonies; and one charge of kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

The incidents were alleged to have taken place in Westerville.

A trial was scheduled for Oct. 24 but was later continued to Dec. 5. However, the Dec. 5 trial was delayed after Durbin said he was considering taking a plea agreement.

The plea agreement was scheduled for Wednesday morning and at the hearing Durbin told visiting Judge John F. Bender, a retired Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge, that he did not want to plead guilty and wanted instead to take the case to trial again.

Durbin is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl between July 1, 2003, and July 31, 2004.

Bender told Durbin that it was his constitutional right to take the case to trial but asked him to examine the merits of taking a deal.

Namely, Bender pointed out that the kidnapping charge carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and said the plea agreement could spare him from life in prison, keep him off the sex offender registry and could keep him out of jail.

“That’s a very, very long time,” Bender said. “The risk you’re running is huge.”

Durbin said he had considered it but he wouldn’t plea.

“I’m innocent,” Durbin said. “I cannot take a plea.”

Bender accepted Durbin’s decision and asked when both sides would be ready for trial. Bender said he has been assigned to the case by the Ohio Supreme Court and added that he was unavailable to preside over the case in January and February.

First Assistant County Prosecutor Kyle Rohrer said that he would need time to give notice to the witnesses.

Bender set the trial for March 6, but said it can move to accommodate witnesses.

Durbin was out on a recognizance bond Wednesday.


By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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