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3-week delay is ordered in Ogden rape trial

A three-week delay has been ordered in the first trial of Jason Brett Higgins, accused as a serial rapist.

Deputy Weber County Attorney Bill Daines said Friday that 2nd District Judge Parley Baldwin has moved Higgins' first trial to Nov. 17, the date originally slated for the second of three trials.Next Tuesday, Baldwin is to consider a motion by Higgins' attorneys to move the trial out of Ogden. Defense lawyers filed the change of venue motion in September, citing excessive pretrial publicity.

However, no date has been set for a hearing to determine whether Higgins is competent to stand trial. Two doctors have finished their mental evaluations of the 24-year-old construction worker.

Higgins has pleaded not guilty to 22 first-degree felony charges stemming from nine alleged rapes between October 1996 and February of this year.

Higgins will first be tried on charges related to a Dec. 13, 1996, alleged sexual assault in Roy. The second trial is for a Jan. 29, 1997, rape in Ogden.

The third trial, for an Oct. 30, 1996, incident, has not been rescheduled.