Message from District Attorney Dan Dow
Message from District Attorney Dan Dow

Jury Unable to Reach Unanimous Verdict in Third Consecutive Rape Trial

Author: District Attorney
Date: 11/26/2019 6:58:59 PM

District Attorney Dan Dow announced today that a mistrial was declared after a jury was unable to reach a verdict in the prosecution of Rian B. Mabus (DOB 2-12-1985) who was charged with rape of an intoxicated person on September 1, 2014.


After more than three days of deliberation, a San Luis Obispo County jury declared they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict, adding that the final jury vote was 10 guilty to 2 not guilty.  This is the third trial during which a jury heard all the evidence in this case where Rian B. Mabus, 34, was charged with rape of an intoxicated person.  The first two juries were also unable to reach a unanimous verdict on this charge.  After the mistrial was declared today, the District Attorney advised the Court that the office will not pursue a fourth trial against Mr. Mabus and the case was dismissed. 

“We are thankful for this jury’s careful consideration of the evidence and hard work in attempting to reach a verdict in this case.  It is unfortunate that they were unable to do so,” said District Attorney Dan Dow.  “While disappointed with the result, I am confident that our team did absolutely everything we could do to seek justice in this case. We recognize and admire the survivor in this case for her resilient strength and steadfast commitment to the pursuit of justice.  We will continue to provide support to her through our Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center.”

The outcome of these three separate trials illustrates how incredibly difficult it can be to prosecute sexual offenses.  To determine a person is guilty at a criminal jury trial, the law requires that the prosecution provide sufficient evidence to convince a unanimous 12-member jury that each element of the charged criminal offense was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  When a person is charged with rape of an intoxicated person, the law requires the following instruction to be given to the jury:

[The defendant is not guilty of this crime if he actually and reasonably

believed that the [person] was capable of consenting to sexual

intercourse, even if that belief was wrong. The People have the burden

of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not

actually and reasonably believe that the [person] was capable of

consenting. If the People have not met this burden, you must find the

defendant not guilty.]

We strongly encourage victims of sexual assault to report their victimization to law enforcement for investigation and to seek assistance from victim assistance centers such as RISEslo.org or StandStrongNow.org.  The District Attorney’s Office participates in the “Start By Believing” campaign.  You can learn more here: startbybelieving.org.  Additionally, in September 2018, District Attorney Dan Dow authored an editorial on this topic, describing some of the reasons why survivors of sexual assault do not always report their victimization.

For inquires please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth at 805-781-5819

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