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Judge: Oklahoma rape suspect must avoid witnesses

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    Tristen Kole Killman-Hardin, 18, in Norman, Okla.
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NORMAN, Okla. >> An Oklahoma judge ordered an 18-year-old man accused of raping a former high school classmate not to contact any potential witnesses during a Wednesday hearing.

Tristen Kole Killman-Hardin, who appeared via video link from the Cleveland County Jail, has been charged with two counts of first-degree rape for allegedly assaulting a 16-year-old Norman High School student who police say was intoxicated and incapable of giving consent.

The judge entered a not-guilty plea on Killman-Hardin’s behalf, set bail at $150,000 and ordered him to avoid anyone connected to the case.

Killman-Hardin told the judge he lives with his mother in Norman and didn’t know if she had hired a lawyer. The judge gave him instructions on how to obtain a court-appointed attorney and set a preliminary hearing conference for Dec. 16.

Norman police have confirmed they are investigating rape allegations by at least two other girls, and the local prosecutor said additional charges are possible.

Elton Jenkins, an attorney for the 16-year-old, said the girl is prepared for what could be a difficult trial.

"She knows what’s going to be expected of her," Jenkins said. "She’s already been very brave to allow herself to be put in this situation. With the protest that happened on her behalf, she’s allowing herself to be out there."

The case led to a Nov. 24 protest by students at the school who said Killman-Hardin’s friends were bullying accusers. Jenkins maintains school officials did not properly respond to reports of bullying and that his client feels unwelcome at the school.

Norman Public Schools spokeswoman Shelly Hickman said the district received one report of bullying and immediately responded. She encouraged anyone aware of bullying to report it to school officials.

Killman-Hardin was kicked out of the school district on Sept. 22 after a video of the alleged assault was brought to administrators’ attention.

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