Crime

Second mistrial declared in North County rape case after jury gridlocks again

Rian Mabus, 32, sits motionless as a jury foreperson tells Superior Court Judge John Trice that they can’t reach an agreement on whether Mabus raped his then-girlfriend’s intoxicated aunt in 2015.
Rian Mabus, 32, sits motionless as a jury foreperson tells Superior Court Judge John Trice that they can’t reach an agreement on whether Mabus raped his then-girlfriend’s intoxicated aunt in 2015. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

San Luis Obispo Superior Court jurors for the second time in as many years have deadlocked on whether a Paso Robles man raped his then-girlfriend’s intoxicated aunt.

The gridlock led Judge John Trice to declare a mistrial, ending two weeks of proceedings against Rian Mabus, 32, a former U.S. Marine.

Jurors gave the matter another 80 minutes of deliberation at Trice’s request Tuesday morning on the charge of rape of an intoxicated person before informing the judge they could go no further.

The jury forewoman told Trice that two polls were taken: eight voted “guilty” and four “not guilty” in the first poll; in the second, nine voted “guilty” and three “not guilty.”

Jurors were charged with weighing whether Mabus raped a 41-year-old Tehachapi woman, referred to in proceedings as Jane Doe, after a night of drinking during a family gathering on Labor Day weekend 2014. Mabus was acquitted of another charge, rape of an unconscious person, in a July 2016 trial; that jury hung 6-6 on the rape of an intoxicated person charge.

Deliberations in Mabus’ second trial have been heated, with Trice on Thursday addressing a confrontation between two unidentified jurors. Deliberations were forced to start over Monday when Trice excused one juror due to a “breakdown in communication” and an unspecified health issue, forcing him to call in an alternate.

The alternate, Corey Kielan of Oceano, said he voted not guilty. Other jurors said the sticking point in deliberations came from trying to determine the extent of Doe’s intoxication and how that would affect her ability to consent to sex.

“It’s hard to get 12 people to decide on one thing,” Kielan said.

Jurors were not informed at the outset of the trail that the 2016 jury hung on the same charge.

“We try to get a fresh look at the case when we have a new jury,” Trice told the jury when he informed them of that fact.

Mabus is scheduled to appear at a hearing June 27, when the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office will decide whether it will bring the case to trial a third time.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7929, @andrewsheeler

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