A mistrial was declared in a rape trial for the third time, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced this week.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict in the prosecution of Rian B. Mabus. He was charged with rape of an intoxicated person in Sept. 2014.
According to a press release, the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict after three days of deliberation with a final vote of 10 finding Mabus guilty, while two said he was not guilty.
This marks the third trial against Mabus, 34. The first two juries were also unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
As a result, Dow said the office will not pursue a fourth trial and the case was dismissed.
“We are thankful for this jury’s careful consideration of the evidence and hard work in attempting to reach a verdict in this case. It is unfortunate that they were unable to do so,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “While disappointed with the result, I am confident that our team did absolutely everything we could do to seek justice in this case. We recognize and admire the survivor in this case for her resilient strength and steadfast commitment to the pursuit of justice. We will continue to provide support to her through our Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center.”
When a person is charged with rape of an intoxicated person, the law requires the following instruction to be given to the jury:
[The defendant is not guilty of this crime if he actually and reasonably
believed that the [person] was capable of consenting to sexual
intercourse, even if that belief was wrong. The People have the burden
of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not
actually and reasonably believe that the [person] was capable of
consenting. If the People have not met this burden, you must find the
defendant not guilty.]
The District Attorney's Office strongly encourage victims of sexual assault to report their victimization to law enforcement for investigation and to seek assistance from victim assistance centers such as RISEslo.org or StandStrongNow.org. The District Attorney’s Office participates in the “Start By Believing” campaign. You can learn more here: startbybelieving.org.
In September 2018, District Attorney Dan Dow authored an editorial on this topic, describing some of the reasons why survivors of sexual assault do not always report their victimization.