Avon man not guilty in rape case | VailDaily.com

Avon man not guilty in rape case

Veronica Whitney

EAGLE – A jury found an Avon man not guilty of raping, kidnapping and beating up a Honduran woman in his car in 2003. After a four-day trial last week, the jury acquitted Alex Rolando Canales, 34, of seven criminal charges, including counts of sexual assault and kidnapping. Prosecutors originally charged Canales with 27 crimes.Among the charges Canales faced were kidnapping and sexually assaulting the woman with a weapon, which could have carried a life sentence. “That charge is as bad as first-degree murder,” said Jim Fahrenholtz, who defended Canales. “This case ranks as one of the top cases I’ve defended,” added Fahrenholtz, who has worked on several murder trials.District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said the prosecution had good evidence against Canales. “We weren’t out-lawyered,” he said. Canales, a Honduran national, had been held in the Eagle County jail since his arrest Dec. 17, 2003.According to police reports, Canales was accused of enticing the woman into the car and sexually assaulting her several times in different parking lots in Eagle County. The reports also said he had told the woman he had a knife and that he had AIDS.Canales, however, said sex was consensual.”This, once again, proves how hard it is to prove sexual assault cases,” Hurlbert said. “But this won’t dissuade us from vigorously continuing to prosecute those cases.”To Fahrenholtz, it all came down to the credibility of the victim.”A juror told me he wasn’t convinced of her credibility,” he said. “She was drunk and urinated and threw up in the car.”As a result of her encounter with Canales, the woman had only a slight bruise on her wrist that didn’t match the description of being beaten while she was being raped, Fahrenholtz said. “There were no marks on her face, not even a scratch,” he said. “No torn clothing. No vaginal or anal tears.”Though he was acquitted of the criminal charges, Canales, an illegal immigrant, is now in a detention center in Aurora. He will be seeking political asylum because he is from Honduras, Fahrenholtz said.Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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