Men's rape charges dropped
Prosecutors have dismissed felony charges against two Fargo men accused of holding down a woman and taking turns raping her. The two spent more than 100 days in jail and were set to face trial this month. Kofi Avortri, 39, and Emmanuel Addai, 28,...
Prosecutors have dismissed felony charges against two Fargo men accused of holding down a woman and taking turns raping her.
The two spent more than 100 days in jail and were set to face trial this month.
Kofi Avortri, 39, and Emmanuel Addai, 28, faced a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted of the Class AA gross sexual imposition charges, which carry maximum penalties of life without parole.
Assistant Cass County Attorney Leah Viste said she sought the dismissals after receiving more information about the Jan. 27 incident that would make it difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
"These cases are very, very difficult to prove and when there's something that comes up that tilts the scales, you have to reassess," she said. Viste declined to specify, but said credibility issues were raised.
The alleged victim in the case, a 32-year-old Fargo woman, did not recant, but authorities are now considering the report unfounded, Viste said
Defense attorneys for the two men said they were pleased with the decision to dismiss the case, adding both men had maintained their innocence from the start.
"Mr. Addai ... is pleased that the matter has finally been resolved," said Steve Mottinger, his attorney.
Avortri's attorney, Mark Beauchene, believes the decision by law enforcement not to arrest his client on the night of the incident indicated there were doubts about the case from the start.
"I regret that my client had to spend all these weeks in custody before the charge was ultimately dismissed," Beauchene said.
Both men told police they had sex with the woman that night, but said it was consensual.
Cass County Jail records show the men were released on Friday. Avortri spent 103 days in custody. Addai spent 101 days in custody.
Charges were brought against the pair in June. Prosecutors have the option of refilling the case, Viste said.