Spokane County drops rape charges against all members of Decapitated

Prosecutors have elected to drop rape and kidnapping charges against all four members of the Polish death metal band Decapitated, ensuring their eventual return to their home country of Poland after months of detainment in the United States.

Waclaw Kieltyka, 35, Michal Lysejko, 27, Rafal Piotrowski, 31, and Hubert Wiecek, 30, were scheduled to begin trial later this month in Spokane County Superior Court for the alleged gang rape of a local woman after their show in downtown Spokane on Aug. 31.

But on Friday – 11 days before the Jan. 16 trial date – Spokane County prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald filed a motion dismissing all rape and kidnapping charges. The motion cites “the well being of the victim” as a reason for dropping the charges without prejudice, meaning the four men could be prosecuted in the future.

The band’s attorneys said news of the dismissal was surreal, but expected. Steve Graham, representing Kieltyka, said that, while he can only speak for his client, “everyone is relieved and they’re looking to get back home.”

Two weeks ago, Graham said “new evidence” came to light that “seriously cast doubt” over the state’s case, which consisted largely of testimony from two women who told police they were kidnapped and held against their will on the band’s tour bus after the show. One of the women was able to escape while his friend was forced to stay on the bus.

The woman told officers she was brutally raped by each member of the band in the bus’ bathroom. She said they all took turns forcing her to perform sexual acts. When they were done, they kicked her off of the bus.

Later at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, police noted “significant bruising to her upper arms consistent with being restrained” and “small abrasions to her knuckles that were scabbed over.”

The victim’s friend was pulled over later that night and cited with a DUI. While in the back of the patrol car, she told the officer her friend was being assaulted, but without a specific location, the officer was unable to help.

Attorneys for the four accused have consistently argued their client’s innocence. While he wouldn’t divulge the state’s reasoning for dropping the charges, Graham said Spokane police officers may have been misinformed on what happens at metal shows that could explain the woman’s bruising.

“We subpoenaed the list of concert attendees and found numerous people who say that she was in the front row of the mosh pit and was climbing up on stage, and getting jostled about as much as anyone else there,” he said. “There’s no question from our perspective that the case against these four guys was falling apart.”

A representative from the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office was not immediately available.

Had it gone to trial, defense attorneys had also planned to cast doubt over the accuser, who they deemed untrustworthy based on a previous encounter with law enforcement. In 2014, she admitted to lying to police about injuries she sustained during an assault, when her boyfriend was accused of stabbing three people. She instead was injured by her boyfriend during a previous argument.

The band members have been out of jail since late last year, when bail was dropped and they were released on their own recognizance. They were ordered to stay within the state but were allowed to leave the county until ordered to return.

Graham said Judge Julie McKay’s decision to release the four was spurred by a letter of support from Polish politician Dominik Tarczynski, who contacted the court on the band’s behalf saying he urged the judge to “consider release of these men on bail until their charges can be resolved.”

During their release hearings, attorneys introduced written testimony from Andy Marsh, a member of Thy Art is Murder which was playing the same show as Decapitated that night. Marsh said he saw the woman in the front of the stage, in an area commonly referred to as a “mosh pit,” where she was violently dancing, which could have explained some of the bruising.

Source : http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/jan/04/spokane-county-drops-rape-charges-against-all-memb/