PORT ANGELES – Assault and burglary charges against an Oregon man dating from 2020 were dismissed during trial after the deputy prosecuting attorney said in court he had received new information, according to court documents.
Casey Strege of Eugene, Ore. — now known as Mr. C Blu – was charged in Clallam County Superior Court on Nov. 4, 2020 with two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and one count of second-degree burglary for an alleged attack on Nov. 1, 2020 at Independent Bible Church.
A jury trial was set for Jan. 11, 2021. The trial was delayed for numerous reasons, ranging from changes of attorney to a competency evaluation to receipt of a forensic psychological report to a potential insanity defense to the usual motions for continuance, according to a listing of disposition events.
On Aug. 23, the third day of the jury trial, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Roberson informed the court he had received new exculpatory information from Robert Stringham, a subpoenaed witness, “tending to raise a reasonable doubt on counts 1 and 2 (second-degree assault with a deadly weapon) and credibility issues as to count 3 (second-degree burglary).”
In a Thursday email, Roberson explained why he chose to dismiss the charges:
“Specifically, while Mr. Stringham remembered seeing some assaultive behavior from Mr. Blu (a kick to one of the security volunteers) he recalled a different sequence and timing of events related to when the knife exited the sheath and how the knife left Mr. Blu’s possession.
“He recalled Mr. Blu being subdued, taking the knife out of the sheath, and throwing it away. He did not see Mr. Blu threaten any person with it,” Roberson continued.
”As I later stated on the record when dismissing the case, this corroborated portions of Mr. Blu’s verbal statement to officers on scene. When the knife was drawn was critical to whether assault in the second degree was committed.
“As Mr. Stringham was not involved in the altercation and there was only one other State’s witness who testified to having a clear view of the knife during the entire altercation, the State was left in a position of two of its own witnesses recalling events differently,” Roberson said.
“Given the importance of when the knife left the sheath and unavailability of video evidence, the prosecution was no longer convinced that there was sufficient evidence to sustain convictions of second-degree assault by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, I no longer believed I could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Roberson moved to dismiss all three counts with prejudice, meaning they can’t be refiled later. Clallam County Superior Court Judge Simon Barnhart granted the motion.
Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@sound publishing.com.