Following Judge Darren McElfresh’s announcement of a mistrial Wednesday in the rape trial against David Ken Lee, the Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office decided to dismiss the case.
“My office acknowledges the jury’s time and attention to this case and respect for the judicial process,” Interim District Attorney Katherine Micks said. “In discussing the case and the evidence, it is the DA’s decision not to retry the case. Even though the jury was not unanimous, it’s clear that retrying would not result in a different outcome.”
Lee was accused of rape in concert with two other males, and rape by force of a Crescent City woman in January 2015.
At the end of the day Monday, the jury said it was unable to reach a verdict but requested more time for deliberation. At the time, it was announced the vote among jurors was 11 to 1. Deliberation lasted until Wednesday afternoon before being called and dismissed at 4 p.m.
An email Wednesday from Defense Attorney Alin Cintean said the direction of the vote was in favor of acquittal.
“As I’m sitting here at the Del Norte County jail waiting for my client David to be released from his year and a half of confinement, I cannot help but express gratitude to the jury that voted 11 to 1 to acquit David. Their vote demonstrates the very meaning of justice,” he wrote.
Another suspect in the same case, Wilson Lor, was first tried in May, 2016 but the jury could not reach a verdict. In a second trial the next month, Lor was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.
Outside the courtroom, Cintean said the question remains what will happen to Lor, as well as to a third named party in the case, Rob Lor.
Cintean said he has been with the case since September of last year when Lee turned himself in to authorities. He said Lor has maintained his innocence the entire time.
“The big tragedy in this case remains Wilson Lor, who two years ago was convicted in a trial where the prosecution was never really challenged,” Cintean said.
Cintean said he was on his way to the jail to oversee Lee’s release.
Reach Tony Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org