BILLINGS – The man recently charged with a 1998 rape and attempted murder in Billings pleaded not guilty in Yellowstone County District Court on Friday.
Zachary O’Neill made his initial appearance on the charges after he was transported from a Washington prison to face the two felony charges.
O’Neill is currently serving a burglary sentence in Washington.
Prosecutors said that O’Neill confessed to the crimes during an interview with Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Deputies in 2017. DNA collected from a used condom at the scene matched O’Neill’s.
O’Neill was transported to Billings on a detainer to face the charges, but prosecutors can only keep him here for 120 days before he has to be transported back to Washington to serve his sentence there. On Friday, prosecutors asked the judge for an expedited trial schedule, so the case could be resolved before O’Neill has to be transported back to Washington.
Because O’Neill is a prisoner in Washington, bond was not argued, and the prosecution did not disclose any other criminal history.
Judge Jessica Fehr did set bond at $500,000 in case anything were to change with O’Neill’s case in Washington.
A trial date has not been set.