A Durango man accused of sexually assaulting a woman with his friends two years ago has been released on his word that he won’t talk with witnesses, won’t use alcohol or marijuana, and won’t leave La Plata County without permission from the court.
District Court Judge William Herringer on Friday approved a $5,000 personal recognizance bond – meaning the accused will be release from jail on the understanding he will follow conditions and appear in court when scheduled – for Devin Bond, a 22-year-old man accused by law enforcement of sexually assaulting a woman at gunpoint in 2017.
If Bond doesn’t abide by conditions of release or doesn’t appear in court when scheduled, he will owe the court $5,000 in bail and may be incarcerated again, said 6th Judicial District Attorney Christian Champagne.
Bond pleaded not guilty to sexual assault causing submission by overbearing the victim’s will, a Class 2 felony. He and two co-defendants – James Zink and Anthony Fitts – were accused by law enforcement of driving a woman around town while forcing her to perform sexual acts at gunpoint in October 2017.
A 12-person jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision about Bond’s guilt or innocence after a one-week trial. Herringer declared a mistrial earlier this week.
Deputy District Attorney Sean Murray said at the Friday hearing that he needs more time to decide whether to retry Bond on sexual assault charges. Bond is scheduled to appear in court June 4.
A mistrial does not prove a defendant’s guilt or innocence – rather, it acknowledges jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision about whether a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. A mistrial nullifies the trial process and any decision reached by a jury but not the legal motions, pleas, charges or evidence presented or accepted before or during the trial, Champagne said.
“It’s a new jury. We have to re-present the evidence to them,” Champagne said. “The only thing that’s wiped out is the trial proceedings themselves.”
Both Fitts and Zink pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault and assault charges. Herringer sentenced Zink to 14 years in prison and 10 years of probation. He sentenced Fitts to six years in prison, but the judge overturned that conviction last week based on testimony from the alleged victim at Bond’s trial. During the trial, the woman said the sexual contact between her and Fitts was consensual.
Zink filed a petition for post-conviction relief May 14, asking Herringer to consider vacating his conviction based on the woman’s testimony.
“The victim in the case gave testimonie (sic) in which (A) did not validate the original statements made by said victim, and (B) does not support the charges being held against myself,” Zink said in a hand-written court document.
Champagne said prosecutors are early in the process of re-evaluating the case against Zink.