MEDFORD, Ore. – Prosecutors announced they dropped the case against a man who was arrested last year for attempted murder.
According to the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, they responded to a reported assault somewhere on South Poe Valley Road at about 2:45 a.m. on February 11, 2018.
When deputies arrived at the location, they saw a vehicle speeding away from the scene. They pulled the vehicle over. Inside were witnesses to the assault who stated a victim was cut badly, according to KCSO. The 22-year-old victim was taken to the hospital in a separate vehicle to be treated for serious injuries.
Investigators said they were able to identify a suspect in the assault, 27-year-old William Travis Newell. Deputies tried searching for him in the immediate area, but they couldn’t find him.
At about 7:05 that morning, a person living in the area called the police, saying a person was knocking at their door claiming to have been assaulted at the Aftershock Bar. When deputies arrived at the residence, they found Newell with multiple injuries.
Newell was taken into custody and later indicted by a Klamath County grand jury for attempted murder and unlawful use of a weapon.
Conflicts in the case led to it being transferred to prosecutors in Jackson County in October 2018.
When the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office received the case, they said a follow-up investigation was requested with the help of Oregon State Police. As a result of the follow-up, new evidence came to light indicating a 911 confession believed to have been made by Newell was made by a witness pretending to be Newell.
Jackson County prosecutors went on to say that statements from witnesses during the course of the investigation were not consistent with statements made during court proceedings. In addition, communications between witnesses after the incident were apparently “deleted” by those same witnesses.
“Although the victim clearly had been assaulted with a knife, was injured, and the weapon used was recovered, the new developments in the case have made it so that the state would be unable to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt at trial,” the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office said.
Prosecutors pointed out that the burden of proof in a criminal trial is a “very high standard” compared to the evidence needed to indict a person accused of a crime.