Attorney asks for rape case to be dismissed

A judge has postponed the rape trial of Rickey D. Haines for three months.

Haines’ lawyer has asked that the case be dismissed altogether, citing improper handling of evidence and other reasons.

Courtney Jones, Haines’ attorney, claimed the defense destroyed a cellphone belonging to the victim.

The victim said he recorded the rape on the phone.

Haines was charged in December with rape, criminal confinement, domestic battery and strangulation.

A woman reported that he attacked her repeatedly at his Brown County home while two children were there.

Brown County Chief Deputy Mike Morris testified that the woman said Haines attempted to force her head into a bathtub full of water and sexually assaulted her in the bathroom and in his bedroom later that night.

He also threatened her with a gun and hit her with a porch railing the same evening, the police report said.

She said Haines was upset that she was talking to another man.

She told police Haines threatened to post the videos on social media for the man she was talking to see.

The next morning, Haines deleted the videos before giving the phone back to her and going to work, the police report said.

On Dec. 9, the date after the reported crime, the Brown County Sheriff’s Department took the phone as evidence, then turned it over to the Fishers Police Department the next day for forensic examination.

Jones said a computer forensic report from the Fishers Police Department said no “relevant data to the case” was found on the phone.

Jones said the phone was eventually returned to the victim; the victim said in a deposition that she no longer had it, Jones said.

She argued that Haines had the right to examine that evidence and that “failure to do so may constitute a violation of due process.”

Prosecutor Ted Adams argued that no evidence had been destroyed. He said a backup of the device is available on the forensics server for examination.

He also said the defense hadn’t asked to see it.

Adams also disputed Jones’ statement about the victim not having the phone anymore.

A hearing about the dismissal request has been set for 9 a.m. May 9.

Two children reported hearing the victim scream for help from the bathroom and bang on the house after Haines followed her outside. The children also reportedly saw her in a choke hold.

On March 31, the prosecution asked that the children be allowed to testify via closed circuit television instead of in open court so they could not see the defendant.

Judge Judith Stewart has yet to issue an order about their testimony.

In addition to dismissal, Jones also asked the court for a continuance. She said she might have to request public funds for experts and needs to interview a witness that the state just introduced April 18.

Stewart approved the continuance request and rescheduled Haines’ jury trial for 8 a.m. Aug. 1.

“I had really hoped to do this in May,” Stewart said. “But we need to do it once and do it right.”

Haines already was scheduled to be tried by a jury Aug. 1 for a separate assault on the same woman, in June 2015.

She reported that Haines slapped her in the face and shot his gun twice at her and her cellphone. A child also was in the home that time.

Haines’ public defender in that case, Jacob Moore, has requested a continuance.

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.