Request to dismiss rape case denied

The rape case against Rickey D. Haines will not be dismissed, despite an allegation from the defense that police mishandled evidence.

Public defender Courtney Jones had argued that her client has the right to examine the victim’s cellphone. The victim told police that Haines had recorded her rape on it, then deleted the video the next morning.

The victim no longer has the phone, and neither do police. She testified May 11 that after police returned it to her, she replaced the screen, erased all content from it and gave it to her father.

But before they gave the phone back to the victim, police asked the Fishers Police Department to perform a forensic analysis of it.

Detective J.D. Floyd with the Fishers Police Department testified May 11 that the data is preserved on a server, but nothing of relevance to the case was extracted.

Jones said her client should have been able to have an outside expert look at the phone before it was returned.

Deputy Prosecutor James T. Roberts argued that evidence had not been destroyed and that the defense had not made any attempts to analyze the content that did come from the phone. “It’s not the phone that counts here. It’s the information on the phone,” he said.

Judge Judith Stewart said the prosecution should have preserved the phone as evidence; however, Jones and Haines have the same ability to view the data as the prosecution does.

Since there was no “bad faith” on the part of the police, there are no grounds for dismissing the case, she ruled.

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

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

She said he asked her repeatedly to unlock the phone, and forced her to delete items on it to make room for the video of the attack. He threatened to post the video on social media for the man she was talking to see, the police report said.

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

Stewart granted that motion.

Jones also had asked for a continuance. She said she might have to request public funds for experts.

Stewart rescheduled the trial for 8 a.m. Aug. 1.

However, Haines has since been offered a settlement agreement, Roberts said last week.

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

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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.