On September 9th, all four members of Polish death-metal band Decapitated were arrested on suspicion of rape in the second- and third degrees for allegedly assaulting a woman on their tour bus after their concert in Spokane, Washington, last August. All charges against the band have been dismissed as of today, January 5th, reports the Spokesman-Review. Court documents obtained by the newspaper show that Spokane County prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald filed a motion today to drop all rape and kidnapping charges with prejudice, citing "the well being of the victim." (Because their charges were dropped without prejudice, the four men could still face prosecution in the future, as the Spokesman-Review points out.)
Today's developments mean that Decapitated — who were previously scheduled to stand trial on January 16th for the alleged incident — are now free to return to Poland, after being detained by Spokane authorities earlier this fall. (The group, who pled "not guilty" to the charges, were released from a Spokane jail on their own recognizance last month, but were not allowed to leave the country or contact each other.)
"New evidence arose that helped show that the band was innocent," a statement posted on the group's official Facebook page reads. "While a trial would have given the band the opportunity to have all this evidence heard, the band welcome the decision and are excited to return back to their homes in Poland. The members of Decapitated – Wacław, Rafal, Michał and Hubert — send a sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who supported them during this difficult time, including fans, friends, and family."
Decapitated had previously stood accused of kidnapping and raping a woman on their tour bus in the early morning hours after their concert Spokane venue the Pin, held on August 31st. Los Angeles police arrested the band on September 9th in connection with the incident, and later extradited them to Spokane County on charges of first-degree kidnapping. Ultimately, singer Rafal Piotrowski and guitarist Waclaw Kieltyka were charged with second degree rape; drummer Michal Lysejko and bassist Hubert Wiecek were charged with third degree rape.
Speaking with the Spokesman-Review today, Steve Graham, one of the band's attorneys, refused to expand on prosecutors' exact reasons for dismissing the rape and kidnapping charges, instead speculating that witness statements that conflicted with the alleged victim's testimony regarding injuries – which she claimed to have sustained during the alleged assault – may have played a role. "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," he said. "There's no question from our perspective that the case against these four guys was falling apart."