A Linn County judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a man accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman at the 2016 Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival.
Judge Daniel Murphy dismissed the case Thursday afternoon, discharging the jury and saying the state will be advised whether it can retry the case against Terry Allen Pepiot of Harrisburg. Pepiot had been charged with four counts of first-degree sodomy, six counts of first-degree sexual abuse, two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and two counts of fourth-degree assault.
Murphy sided Thursday with the defense attorneys for Pepiot, saying he believes the defense was denied information it should have had prior to the case coming to trial.
Pepiot's defense team, Sarah Ferguson and Heidi Sternhagen, argued that Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny had received information about the alleged assault that was not provided to them.
Specifically, they said the young woman testified she remembered feeling a sensation between her legs, and that the information had been conveyed to the prosecution prior to trial. However, the team said they had not received that information and were told only that she said she didn't remember anything before waking up naked in bed with Pepiot.
Marteeny argued strenuously that he had received no exculpatory information that he did not turn over. He said the testimony during the trial was not inconsistent with the information in discovery. "If she remembers things later, that is not inconsistent," he said.
He also asked Murphy to insist the defense team provide evidence or point to audio or written statements to show exactly what they were saying was inconsistent.
Murphy said he believed Marteeny had made a mistake rather than acting with deliberate intent of misconduct. As to the request for evidence, he said he would not continue the argument.
"We have the testimony of the alleged victim herself," he said.
In opening arguments presented to the 12-member jury on Tuesday, the prosecution said Pepiot, then 56, sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman sleeping in the RV he was staying in on the festival grounds. Both allegedly were intoxicated.
The woman told detectives she woke up unclothed and in a panic before leaving almost immediately and notifying authorities of the crime that same night, Marteeny said.
Defense attorney Sarah Ferguson said Tuesday the oral sex and other acts inside the trailer were consensual.