Prosecutors have elected to drop rape and kidnapping charges against all four members of the Polish death metal band Decapitated. The musicians who have been in custody for several months will be ensured a return to their home country of Poland. It’s reported on the band’s Facebook page with reference to Spokesman news website.
Waclaw Kieltyka, 35, Michal Lysejko, 27, Rafal Piotrowski, 31, and Hubert Wiecek, 30, were scheduled to begin trial on January 16 in Spokane County Superior Court for the alleged gang rape of a local woman after their show in downtown Spokane on August 31.
However, 11 days before the court date, Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald filed a motion dropping all rape and kidnapping charges without prejudice, meaning the four men could be prosecuted in the future. The motion cites "the well being of the victim" and "in the interest of justice" as a reason for dismissal.
The band’s attorneys said news of the dismissal was surreal but expected. Steve Graham, representing Kieltyka, said that while he can only speak for his client, "everyone is relieved and they’re looking to get back home".
Graham said "new evidence" came to light that "seriously cast doubt" over the state’s case, which consisted largely of testimony from two women who told police they were kidnapped and held against their will on the band’s tour bus after the show. One of the women was able to escape while her friend was forced to stay on the bus, according to the women’s accounts.
The woman allegedly held in the bus told officers she was brutally raped by each member of the band in the bathroom. She said they took turns forcing her to perform sexual acts. When they were done, they kicked her off, she said.
Later at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, police noted "significant bruising to her upper arms consistent with being restrained" and "small abrasions to her knuckles that were scabbed over".
The victim’s friend was pulled over later that night and cited with a DUI. While in the back of the patrol car, she told the officer her friend was being assaulted, but without a specific location the officer was unable to help.
Attorneys for the accused have consistently argued their clients’ innocence. While he wouldn’t divulge the state’s reasoning for dropping charges, Graham said police officers may have been misinformed on what happens at metal shows that could explain the woman’s bruising.
This, in particular, was confirmed by Thy Art is Murder’s guitarist Andy Marsh, whose band also gave a concert that evening. The musician said that he saw a woman in front of the stage in the moshpit, where she was violently dancing, which could have explained some of the bruising.
Lawyer Steve Graham: "We subpoenaed the list of concert attendees and found numerous people who say that she was in the front row of the mosh pit and was climbing up on stage, and getting jostled about as much as anyone else there. There’s no question from our perspective that the case against these four guys was falling apart."
Had it gone to trial, defense attorneys also had planned to cast doubt about the accuser, whom they deemed untrustworthy based on a previous encounter with law enforcement. In 2014, she admitted to lying to police about injuries sustained during an assault, when her boyfriend was accused of stabbing three people. She was injured by her boyfriend during a previous argument, police determined.
The band members have been out of jail since late last year, when bail was dropped and they were released on their own recognizance. They were ordered to stay within the state but were allowed to leave the county until ordered to return.