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Grand Forks man pleads not guilty to sexual assault in break-in

A Grand Forks man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of breaking into a woman's home, sexually assaulting and threatening to kill her.

Rolando Rodriguez, 38, was arrested in June, but spent time on the Grand Forks Police Department's top five most wanted list.

A court document said Rodriguez broke into the home of a woman he knew on May 21 around 6:45 a.m. He allegedly punched her repeatedly and pulled her by her hair when she tried to open the bedroom window to call for help.

Rodriguez smashed her phone against the wall as she tried to call 911, an affidavit for his arrest said. He then allegedly sexually assaulted her.

A police report said Rodriguez grabbed a knife from the kitchen and threatened to kill the woman. She was able to run from the house when he became distracted by a car honking outside, according to court documents.

If convicted of the felony charges, Rodriguez could spend life in prison without parole.