Martin Perez stands in Clallam County Superior Court during his rape trial Thursday. He is flanked by interpreter Bertilda Mendoza and defense attorney John Hayden. The trial resulted in a hung jury. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Martin Perez stands in Clallam County Superior Court during his rape trial Thursday. He is flanked by interpreter Bertilda Mendoza and defense attorney John Hayden. The trial resulted in a hung jury. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Rape trial ends in hung jury

PORT ANGELES — A trial for a Forks man accused of raping an acquaintance in a remote garage last September has resulted in a hung jury.

Martin C. Perez, 40, was charged with first- and second-degree rape and second-degree assault for an alleged attack on a 45-year-old woman in a vacant building near the east end of Calawah Way on Sept. 6.

The seven-man, five-woman jury could not reach a verdict Friday after a one-week trial in Clallam County Superior Court.

Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy said Perez will get a new trial date Thursday. The same charges will apply, he said.

“It was frustrating, that’s for sure,” Kennedy said in a Friday interview.

“Every side puts a lot of effort into these [trials]. It’s not what anyone wants to see.”

Defense attorney John Hayden of Clallam Public Defender argued that Martin and the woman had consensual sex and that the state failed to prove that a rape or assault occurred.

“The physical evidence does not support her version of what happened,” Hayden said during closing arguments Thursday.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office alleged that Perez raped the woman after she brought an axe and a smoothie to Perez at his job site near the Calawah River.

Perez allegedly pulled the woman out of her van, dragged her into the building and raped her on a piece of cardboard, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

The state had the burden to show an absence of consent by way of kidnapping for first-degree rape and forcible compulsion for second-degree rape.

“You heard it straight from her mouth,” Kennedy told the jury during closing arguments. “This was not consensual.”

The alleged victim took the stand Tuesday. Perez did not testify.

The woman told investigators that Perez had given her an unsolicited kiss about a week before the incident and she had repeatedly told him “no” when he kissed her at the garage.

“She did not want a romantic relationship with Mr. Perez,” Kennedy said. “She had never thought of him that way.

“This is what rape looks like,” Kennedy added. “It happens between people that know each other.”

Hayden cited a lack of physical evidence such as bruises on the woman’s body, torn clothes or scuff marks in the gravel to indicate a struggle near her van.

He said the state relied on speculation.

“I would suggest to you there are so many doubts here, so many,” Hayden said.

Kennedy called witnesses who testified that the woman’s demeanor changed dramatically Sept. 6.

The woman was “traumatized” after the incident and sought refuge in a church, he said.

“This is someone who is more upset on Sept. 6 than when her mother had died over Mother’s Day weekend unexpectedly,” Kennedy said.

“She was shaking so hard she coulnd’t even drink from a bottle of water.

“This is not someone who just regrets having sex,” Kennedy said. “That’s a person who was raped.”

The jury began deliberations after closing arguments Thursday afternoon.

The deadlocked jury was polled by Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour and discharged Friday afternoon.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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