JAY, Okla. – A seven-year-old rape charge against a Washington man was dismissed after key evidence in the case was lost, said District Attorney Doug Pewitt on Thursday.
Austin Michael Deloach, 32, of Bellevue, Washington was charged Jan. 2016 with first-degree rape in Delaware County District Court in Jay.
After seven years of delays, due to Covid issues and Deloach living out of state, Deloach’s trial was set to begin on Monday. Instead, District Judge Jennifer McAffrey heard arguments pertaining to lost evidence and why the case should be dismissed.
Judge McAffrey had no choice but to dismiss the case against Deloach, said Winston Connor, II, Deloach’s attorney.
Connor said critical items and evidence against Deloach were either lost and or destroyed.
A fair trial was impossible, Connor said.
The victim wanted to proceed with the trial, Pewitt said.
Deloach was accused of raping the then 16-year-old victim and choking her during the assault, according to court records.
Deloach, who was 24 years old at the time of the alleged assault, denied assaulting the teen, but did tell a former Delaware County investigator repeatedly, he was “attracted to the girl,” according to an arrest affidavit.
“Her testimony would have been an excellent testimony in itself,” Pewitt said. “Some of the recorded interviews were lost. Our office and the sheriff’s office looked everywhere for the missing interviews.”
Pewitt said the sheriff’s office has gone through several sheriffs since the case was filed in 2016.
“The current sheriff and his staff looked everywhere,” Pewitt said of the missing reports.
Deloach cannot be charged again if the lost evidence is recovered, he said.