Wednesday, April 18 - Probable Cause Moves Rape Case To Circuit Court
OCEAN CITY - A Seaford man known as Juan Vincente Morales, 33, who was arrested March 12 for rape and assault charges, was in District Court Monday morning for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence for probable cause to forward the case to Circuit Court in Snow Hill.
OCPD officers were dispatched o 12th Street and Baltimore Avenue in response to a woman who said she had just been sexually assaulted. She had reportedly returned home from work to find her boyfriend, Morales, waiting for her in their apartment bathroom. She also said he had been drinking and began to yell and threaten her.
According to police records, Morales was carrying a rifle and a large knife with him that he used to threaten his girlfriend. He pointed the gun at her and said he was going to have sex with her, ripping her shirt off and placing the knife to her face, threatening to scar her.
He then forced the victim to the bed and raped her, later telling her that if she contacted the police he would return and kill her. The victim was transported to Atlantic General Hospital while officers conducted surveillance on her apartment in hopes Morales would return.
Around 6 p.m., officers spotted Morales returning to the unit and arrested him without any further incident. The knife was recovered from the victim's apartment and Morales was charged with first- and second-degree rape, first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.
Morales sat quietly Monday at the defense table as his lawyer presented Judge Daniel R. Mumford with facts he hoped would prevent the case from going any further.
The attorney said the time at which the alleged victim reported the rape took place did not coincide with the record of phone calls she had placed to Morales. Earlier statements by the victim said she returned home around 2 p.m. and that was when the rape occurred. However, phone records show three calls placed to Morales beginning around 2 p.m. and go almost to 3 p.m. before they stop, only to resume approximately an hour later.
The defense argued that the girlfriend would not be calling Morales if he were in the apartment with her at those times as she had claimed. The defense also argued Morales had a right to be in the apartment because no peace order had been filed and the lease was in Morales' name.
Mumford found the arguments presented by the defense to be insufficient enough to stop the case from continuing to Circuit Court.
Morales is currently being held without bond, which his lawyer tried to change. However, when Mumford questioned his client's legal status, the request was withdrawn, following a reply of, 'That is another matter.'