Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 20, 2010

Trial set in rape, home invasion case

Charles Kovary is also charged with home invasion

TRAVERSE CITY -- The key witness in Charles Elmer Kovary's upcoming rape trial could be the man convicted of helping Kovary with the crime.

Kovary, 38, is charged as a habitual offender with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and a count of first-degree home invasion. His trial is set to begin March 9.

Kovary and Kingsley resident Corey Joel Riggs entered a woman's Karlin Road residence at about 3 a.m. Sept. 29, authorities said. They allegedly beat her as she lay in bed, and Kovary dragged the woman from the bed and sodomized her, court records show.

Riggs in December pleaded guilty to first-degree home invasion, and prosecutors dropped a count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. As part of the plea deal, Riggs is required to "truthfully testify" against Kovary during Kovary's trial.

Police said Kovary wore a mask during the incident, but the woman told investigators she was "110 percent" sure of his identity based on the sound of his voice.

The woman helped Kovary with a wedding reception a few months before the incident.

Kovary never posted bond and remains in jail. His attorney, Traverse City-based Matthew Connolly, declined to comment.

Kovary spent about six years in prison after a 1995 home invasion conviction in Grand Traverse County, Michigan Department of Corrections records show. In that incident, Kovary broke into a Traverse City home and attempted to sexually assault a woman, police said.

The woman in that incident awoke to Kovary standing over her with his pants around his knees, and he attempted to silence her by putting his hand on her mouth, police said.

A judge recently ruled that prosecutors will be able to admit that incident as evidence in the upcoming trial, Grand Traverse Prosecutor Al Schneider said.

The woman initially believed three men entered her house, but police said only Riggs and Kovary were involved. The woman likely was disoriented and confused, investigators said.

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