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Guilty plea seen over threat to Bryant accuser

Officials say Iowan threatened to kill alleged rape victim

DENVER -- An Iowa man charged with leaving a profanity-laced death threat on the answering machine of Kobe Bryant's accuser has agreed to plead guilty.

John Roche, 22, is accused of threatening to assault the 19-year-old woman with a coat hanger and repeatedly vowing to kill her in the July 27 message.

He pleaded not guilty on Sept. 2, but defense attorney Nathan Chambers said in court papers released Tuesday that he will change his plea.

The papers did not say what charge Roche will plead guilty to at a Nov. 24 hearing.

Roche is charged with making a threatening telephone call across state lines, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Roche was a student at the University of Iowa at the time of the alleged threat but withdrew and moved to his parents' home in Davenport, Iowa.

A friend had said Roche is a sports fanatic who had been drinking all day at a golf tournament when he allegedly made the call.

Bryant, the 25-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star, faces a trial on a charge of sexually assaulting the Colorado resort employee June 30.

A Swiss man faces charges in California of offering to kill Bryant's accuser for $3 million. Patrick Graber, 31, was arrested Sept. 18.

Graber has pleaded not guilty to state charges of solicitation of murder and solicitation to dissuade a witness.

The lead prosecutor in the Bryant case, Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, has said he has received hundreds of threats but considered most to be harmless ranting by overzealous fans.

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