Following roughly seven hours of jury deliberation, a trial that began last week resulted in not guilty verdicts for rappers Lathan Moses Echols and Joshua Darrow, who perform under the stage names “Lil Mosey” and “Band Kid Jay,” respectively, in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday.
Both were acquitted on second-degree rape charges that were filed in 2021.
The two were accused of having sex with the victim at a party in Randle on Jan. 6, 2020, while she was incapable of consenting due to intoxication.
A third man charged in the case, Francisco Prater, who performs under the stage name “Cisco Go Crazy,” will face trial separately due to witness statements affecting Prater’s case specifically that required further followup investigation by his defense attorney.
That trial is scheduled to begin May 8.
The victim reportedly told police she had gone to a party in Randle to see Echols, consumed alcohol and eventually blacked out. She later realized she had been raped and reported the incident to law enforcement.
Witnesses who testified during the seven-day trial included Echols himself, as well as the alleged victim and others who attended the Randle party where the alleged incident occurred. One of those witnesses included a female friend of the victim who was closely involved with the victim in the aftermath of the alleged incident.
Echols successfully passed two polygraph tests conducted prior to his testimony in court, according to his defense attorney, Shane O’Rourke. Those polygraphs were not admitted as evidence in court.
Darrow did not provide testimony at trial, but has stated he was asleep in a different part of the house when the alleged incident occurred. Echols supported Darrow’s narrative.
Expert witnesses called to answer questions related to their field included a detective and a deputy with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, scientists with the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, an employee of the Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center and hospital staff who completed the victim’s medical exam.
The jury began its deliberations at about 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday and continued until 5 p.m., when they were excused for the evening.
The jury resumed deliberations at about 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and informed the court it had reached a verdict at 12:30 p.m.
Evidence presented to the jury included statements from the alleged victim and witnesses, police reports, crime lab reports, photos of the cabin where the party occurred, a sexual assault collection kit and sexual assault report, buccal swab results from both the alleged victim and Echols, the clothing the victim wore during the alleged incident, and photos of bruises and scratches the victim reportedly sustained during the alleged incident.
Three videos recorded during the party, at least one of which was posted to social media, were also admitted as evidence. The jury requested to review those videos a second time Thursday morning during their deliberations.
The jury did not provide an explanation for its verdicts.
When speaking to a Chronicle reporter about the trial after the verdict was delivered on Thursday, O’Rourke said that, from his point of view, there was insufficient evidence to establish Echols’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, he said there was evidence to suggest Echols wasn’t involved in the incident at all.
“From my standpoint, just having done this a long time … (the evidence) did not suggest he was a part of it,” O’Rourke said.
He added that there are “other suspects out there,” but did not specify who, saying that was the jurisdiction of law enforcement and the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.
“It was never about bashing the two women who testified,” O’Rourke said, referencing the alleged victim and her friend.
Darrow’s attorney, John Polito, said Thursday he “commends the jury and the Lewis County prosecutors who handled this case for exhibiting exemplary professionalism.”
According to Polito, Darrow “has always maintained absolute innocence in this case, which is different than being not guilty.”
Darrow never once considered accepting a plea deal for a lesser charge, Polito said, instead counting on a jury to review the evidence and confirm his innocence.
“We are very happy that the conscience of this community in Chehalis found him not guilty,” Polito said Thursday.
The Chronicle was unable to reach the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office office for comment Thursday afternoon.
Prater’s trial confirmation hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 4.