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Man charged in rape set for trial today

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
March 28, 2001
A Meridian man accused of breaking into a Lauderdale County home and raping an 11-year-old girl is scheduled for trial today in Lauderdale County Circuit Court.
Wilbert Edward Jennings, 40, of 8697 Kings Road in Bailey, was originally charged with capital rape in connection with the March 9, 2000 assault. A grand jury returned an indictment against Jennings for statutory rape in July.
Jennings was sought by the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department from April to June 2000 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He surrendered after officials with the sheriff's office notified the media they were seeking him in connection with the alleged attack. He is accused of entering the home through a window and then attacking the girl.
Jennings was denied bond after his June 10 arrest and has since remained in custody at the Lauderdale County Detention Facility.
Jennings waived indictment in February after a grand jury accused him of burglary of a dwelling. In that case, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespass.
Investigators said Jennings has a long criminal history, including multiple burglary convictions, contempt of court and numerous DUI convictions.
The trial was scheduled before Circuit Judge Larry Roberts.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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