Kansas prosecutor drops charges in 2 high-profile cases

Kansas prosecutor drops charges in 2 high-profile cases

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A prosecutor in a Kansas higher education city has dropped prices versus two Black men whose murder and rape scenarios became a rallying cry for racial injustice protesters and celebs.

Douglas County District Legal professional Suzanne Valdez announced Wednesday that she had moved to formally dismiss the initial-degree murder situation versus Rontarus Washington Jr. and the rape circumstance versus Albert Wilson.

Josh Dubin, an lawyer with the Innocence Undertaking, which assisted signify both guys, stated in email to the Lawrence Journal-Earth that he was “relieved and overjoyed.”

Washington’s situation has confronted a collection of delays and a single mistrial ensuing from a hung jury. Valdez reported in a assertion that those people delays elevate thoughts about the integrity of the legal justice system itself.

“A specific legal maxim retains legitimate here: Justice delayed is justice denied,” stated Valdez, who took place of work in January.

On Nov. 9, 2014, Justina Altamirano Mosso was found crushed to loss of life in her property in Lawrence. Washington lived down the hall from the sufferer. Through the trial, Washington admitted to entering Altamirano Mosso’s condominium and viewing her human body, but he managed that he did not eliminate her. The affidavit explained he informed police he was searching for modify to steal. His defense instructed Altamirano Mosso’s estranged husband as a achievable alternative suspect.

Right after a 4-7 days 2019 demo finished with jurors not able to reach a verdict, Washington remained jailed until finally a choose diminished his bond to $500,000 from $750,000. Income to spend for his release was elevated by Lawrence-place activists and firms.

The case also became a flashpoint in the most current Douglas County district attorney’s race, when Valdez defeated incumbent Charles Branson and a different challenger.

Wilson was convicted of rape in 2019 immediately after his accuser testified that he assaulted her at a preferred bar in 2016 when he was a 20-yr-outdated University of Kansas scholar and she was 17 years previous. She said he then walked her to his home a few of blocks absent and assaulted her again prior to going for walks her back to the bar.

Supporters mentioned the conviction was unfair due to the fact the jury was all-white and primarily feminine. Wilson’s case garnered the attention of celebs these kinds of as Kim Kardashian, who shared information articles or blog posts and petitions that criticized Wilson’s conviction.

A decide granted a new demo in March, locating that his demo legal professional failed to critique hundreds of text messages from the accuser.

Valdez reported her office environment at first offered a plea deal to Wilson, but negotiations with Wilson’s attorneys did not end result in an arrangement. Without that agreement, she claimed her office then approached the accuser about one more doable resolution.

“She required to address Mr. Wilson specifically and to express to him the influence this total expertise has experienced on her,” Valdez mentioned.

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