DECAPITATED ARE FREE AFTER RAPE AND KIDNAPPING CHARGES ARE DROPPED
18 January 2018
Polish Death Metallers Decapitated have had all rape and kidnapping charges against them dropped after being detained in the United States for nearly four months.
Waclaw Kieltyka, 35, Michal Lysejko, 27, Rafal Piotrowski, 31, and Hubert Wiecek, 30, were arrested early on Saturday, 9th September, in Santa Ana, California, on suspicion of kidnapping a woman after their August 31st concert in Spokane.
The band were collectively due to go to trial on January 16th but Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald filed a motion on Friday 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 Spokane-based attorney representing the band, Steve Graham, told The Spokesman-Review in October:
“We have witnesses that can testify to the fact that the accuser came to visit the band of her own free will and left on good terms. The accuser has a documented history of providing false information to the police dating back to 2014.”
Fitzgerald said: “We’ve discussed with her and her advocates and feel at this time it’s best for her to heal.”
The band are said to be relieved and “looking to get back home.”
Piotrowski’s attorney, Jeffry Finer, said they were confident the prosecution would drop charges once they had all of the evidence from defence witnesses, which included scores of concertgoers.
“A close review of the evidence is all it took,” he said. “We are not criticizing the county for moving slow. It just took a long time to get all of the evidence, all of the witnesses, and there were so many witnesses.”
Two weeks ago Graham said that new evidence had come 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.
Graham said that police officers may have been misinformed and that he could not reveal the real reasons why the State had dropped the case.
Had it gone to trial, defence attorneys 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 were released from jail late last year, when bail was dropped. They were ordered to stay within the state but were allowed to leave the county until ordered to return.
The four are now awaiting word from Immigration And Customs Enforcement as to when they can return to Poland. Finer said:
“All of them were saying they will always remember the kindness of the people here. We made it as reasonable a two months as we could while the county took its time and did its due diligence, and determined correctly that the case needed to be dismissed.”
In October Decapitated cancelled all previously announced tour dates and previous to that, Venom Prison withdrew from the support slot on Decapitated’s November ‘Anticult’ UK tour, issuing a statement saying “until an individual is convicted, we are not in a position to comment”.
Their statement then went on to say “we don’t believe these things just happen” and effectively said they believed the Poles were guilty, as well as highlighting that they had made a £200 donation to Rape Crisis.
You can read their statement in full right here.
Venom Prison will do well to remember that “innocent until proven guilty” remains a fundamental and vital component of our democracy and that publicising charity donations is incredibly poor form.
We look forward to welcoming Decapitated to Britain when they reschedule their UK tour, hopefully with a different support band.