A Wood County jury has found a Hicksville man not guilty of rape.
Salvador Vargas Avalos, 25, was on trial earlier this month in the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Joel Kuhlman after being accused of rape and two counts sexual battery.
Avalos was indicted in February for the three offenses, which all allegedly happened on Aug. 7, 2021. The allegations were that he had sex with a woman when he knew she submitted because she was unaware the act was being committed, and her ability to consent was substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition.
The alleged incident took place in the house of an acquaintance after both parties had been drinking.
Avalos claimed the sex was consensual, according to court documents.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges during arraignment in March.
In the days leading up to the trial, defense attorney Scott Coon argued that the inability to view police body camera from the incident would hinder him from developing a cross examination strategy. He claimed the Bowling Green Police Division’s recordings had been destroyed because the state had failed to preserve the recordings.
Coon asked for a dismissal of all charges.
In response, Wood County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brian Boos replied that had Coon drawn attention to the possibility that body camera footage was missing in the first four months of the proceedings, the state would have immediately investigated the matter rather than be asked for the possible footage four days prior to the start of the trial.
The recordings from the cameras worn by the responding officers were purged Aug. 7, per policy in which items are deleted after one year.
Coon also filed a motion to prevent the state from inquiring about text messages between a woman and the plaintiff. A short conversation was provided but a request for further portions of the conversation was denied by the state, which said it had no further part of the conversation, “indicating an unwillingness to obtain any more of this conversation with the complaining witness,” Coon wrote in his motion.
The messages started with the friend stating “I’m home! You good?” at 2:47 a.m. and the plaintiff replying “No i want to be home” at 2:51 a.m., “OK idk where I am” at 2:59 a.m. and “Help” at 3:43 a.m.
Boos argued that the messages were highly relevant and probative to the issue of impairment and consent.
After deliberating for just over three hours Nov. 4, the jury found Avalos not guilty on all charges.