Crime

Jury acquits Paso Robles man of one rape count, deadlocks on another

Rian Mabus, right, answers questions on the stand from his defense attorney Matthew Guerrero, left, as Judge John Trice looks on during Mabus’ trial on Tuesday.
Rian Mabus, right, answers questions on the stand from his defense attorney Matthew Guerrero, left, as Judge John Trice looks on during Mabus’ trial on Tuesday. Joe Johnston

Following less than a full day of deliberations, a jury of 11 men and one woman on Wednesday found a Paso Robles man, who was accused of raping his girlfriend’s intoxicated aunt during a family visit in 2014, not guilty on one count of rape. Jurors deadlocked on a second charge.

The verdict came after three days of sometimes heated testimony from the aunt and Rian Mabus, 31, who was charged with rape of an intoxicated person and with rape of a person who is “unconscious of the nature of the act.”

If convicted on both counts, Mabus, a former U.S. Marine, faced a maximum of 10 years in state prison.

San Luis Obispo County Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham said Wednesday that the agency may decide to refile a charge at a trial-setting conference scheduled for Tuesday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, following a poll of jurors.

Although the jury deadlocked 6-6 on the charge of raping an intoxicated person, it found Mabus not guilty of raping an unconscious person.

“We believed the jury was very diligent in reviewing all the facts in this case,” defense attorney Matthew Guerrero said after the hearing. “Myself and my client had full faith in this jury.”

Guerrero declined to comment further, noting that prosecutors could refile the second charge next week.

During the trial, Mabus testified that he did have sex with his girlfriend’s 41-year-old aunt, identified in court as Jane Doe, who had become very intoxicated during a night of drinking on Aug. 31, 2014, but that the sex was consensual. He initially denied to investigators the sex happened until admitting the encounter after DNA results came back positive.

Jane Doe, who was the first person to testify, claimed that she was “blacked out” from alcohol — and possibly drugged by Mabus, she said — and last remembered vomiting in the bathroom. When she regained consciousness, she testified, Mabus was having sex with her on a bed in an unoccupied bedroom in the apartment.

Deputy District Attorney Julie Antos, who prosecuted the case, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Matt Fountain: 805-781-7909, @MattFountain1

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