Jury deadlocked in heated retrial of North County rape case

June 13, 2017

For the second time, the case involving a Paso Robles man who is accused of raping his girlfriend’s aunt appears to be headed for a mistrial. The retrial of the rape case has featured arguments between jurors and jurors mouthing off at the judge.

Last July, a San Luis Obispo jury acquitted former Marine Rian Mabus, 32, of one of two rape charges. The jury, which was comprised of 11 men and one woman acquitted Mabus of a charge of raping a person who is unconscious to the nature of the act. The jury deadlocked 6-6 on a charge of rape of an intoxicated person, prompting the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office to decide to retry the case.

A second two-week trial is now wrapping up in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. The current jury is comprised of seven women and five men.

On Monday afternoon, following two days of deliberations, the jury foreperson announced to Judge John Trice that jurors failed to reach a verdict after taking four votes. The jury split 9-3 on the first vote and the last vote, the foreperson said.

The foreperson did not say which way the jury is leaning. The foreperson also said more time would not lead to the jury reaching a verdict.

Still, Trice ordered jurors to return to the courtroom Tuesday morning when he will decide whether to declare a mistrial or instruct the jurors to try to sort out their differences. Trice indicated he would accept a mistrial, but the judge said sometime it helps to sleep on it.

While Trice was questioning the foreperson, one juror interrupted the judge saying, “Come hell or high water, it doesn’t matter how long we sit in this room. We’re done.”

Later, a juror blurted out, “a waste of fucking time” while walking out of the courtroom.

The angry outbursts followed several days of tension between jurors. During the trial, Trice addressed a confrontation between two jurors.

Trice then decided to have deliberations take place in courtroom, rather than in the jury room, which is a smaller space. While deliberations were taking place Monday morning, one juror was excused and replaced by an alternate following a “breakdown in communication” and an undisclosed health issue.

Mabus’s alleged offense stems from an incident during Labor Day weekend in 2014, in which he had sex with his girlfriend’s aunt while she was staying at the Atascadero apartment in which Mabus and his girlfriend were living. The alleged victim’s teenage daughter and her teenage boyfriend were also inside the home at the time.

During both the trial and retrial, the alleged victim, a 41-year-old Tehachapi woman, testified that she awoke in a pool of vomit in her niece’s bed where Mabus was penetrating her vagina from behind and whispering her name in her ear.

The woman also said during her testimony that she consumed about five drinks, became very intoxicated and vomited several times in the bathroom, where she eventually lost consciousness. During and after the sexual assault, she drifted in and out of consciousness, and she did not realize what happened until she woke up the next morning, the alleged victim testified.

Matt Guerrero, Mabus’ attorney, argued the defendant awoke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and encountered the alleged victim, who began kissing him. Mabus and the alleged victim then went into a bedroom together, Guerrero said.

Mabus initially denied to investigators that he had sex with the alleged victim, but a rape test revealed the presence of his DNA. During both trials, Mabus admitted to having sex with the woman, but said it was consensual.

Guerrero argued the woman brought forward a rape allegation because she was embarrassed she had sex with her niece’s boyfriend.

Had Mabus been convicted of both rape charges, he would have faced a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Mabus is still facing a maximum of eight years in prison, thought it is looking increasingly likely he will not be convicted of the lone remaining charge.







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4 Comments

  1. GrayGranny2010 says:

    I have no opinion about this case but your comment sounds a lot like blame the victim. If I forgetfully leave my house unlocked, no one has the right to come into my home and steal from me. Yes I would have been responsible for leaving my house unlocked so then you would blame me for the robbery, not the perpetrators?

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. GrayGranny2010 says:

    I have no opinion about this case but your comment sounds a lot like blame the victim. If I forgetfully leave my house unlocked, no one has the right to come into my home and steal from me. Yes I would have been responsible for leaving my house unlocked so then you would blame me for the robbery, not the perpetrators?

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. abigchocoholic says:

    It’s called reasonable doubt. We don’t convict people over “probably”.

    Consensual or not, her lesson is to not put herself in that situation and drink herself into unconsciousness.

    (-1) 23 Total Votes - 11 up - 12 down
  4. c.d.cox says:

    As the old saying goes third time is charm.If at first you don’t succeed try try again

    (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down

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