BANGOR, Maine — The defense attorney for an Orono man charged with four crimes — including unlawful sexual contact and unlawful sexual touching — said in court Thursday that police made incorrect assumptions when investigating the accusations against his client.
A jury of nine women and three men agreed. They deliberated for 2½ hours before finding Aaron J. Olivares, 36, not guilty of all of the charges filed against him in October 2011 after his then 22-year-old neighbor reported he broke into her home and touched her in a sexual manner. Olivares was on trial for burglary, aggravated criminal trespassing, unlawful sexual touching and unlawful sexual contact.
Defense attorney Don Brown told jurors in his closing remarks at the Penobscot Judicial Center that the police did such a shoddy job, “it’s almost laughable.”
“This case got away from them from the very get go,” he said after the verdict was read in the two-day trial.
Olivares told police that he went into his neighbor’s trailer after she asked him to help her move a heavy air conditioner. She pulled a gun on Olivares as he followed her toward the bedroom, according to Brown. Olivares did not testify in his own defense.
The woman took the stand on Wednesday and testified that Olivares attacked her while she slept.
“She was woken up because she felt someone’s mouth on her breast and fingers [inside her],” Assistant District Attorney Alice Clifford said in her closing arguments Thursday. “She thought it was her boyfriend.”
The woman said she opened her eyes and saw Olivares and grabbed her unloaded handgun off the nightstand and chased him out of the residence. Afterwards, she was hysterical and inconsolable, Clifford said.
“Her mom said she was sobbing so hard she couldn’t understand her,” the prosecutor said.
Brown said it was his client who called police, saying he had been threatened by her, but responding Orono police saw the crying woman and “made assumptions” that she had been attacked.
“She may have been hysterical because Aaron Olivares called police,” Brown said in his closing arguments.
Brown also told jurors that the prosecution produced no physical evidence in the case and that the story the woman told Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing had changed.
“What she told Capt. Ewing is nowhere near what you heard yesterday,” Brown said. “You have to determine who is telling the truth.”
The jury requested information during their deliberations regarding how they should balance feelings and common sense and the evidence provided. Superior Court Justice William Anderson explained for a second time that “the evidence in this case is the sworn testimony of the witnesses” and that direct evidence and circumstantial evidence carry the same weight in the eyes of the law.
Olivares was escorted out of the Penobscot Judicial Center by four family members. He said simply that he was relieved.
“I’m grateful for the jury,” Olivares said.
Correction: An earlier version of this report listed Aaron Olivares defense attorney as John Brown. It is Don Brown.