Chelan County Superior Court dismissed a 3-year-old rape case from Wenatchee on Thursday, stating that prosecutors failed to disclose evidence to defense attorneys.

Eight counts of second-degree rape were dropped against 58-year-old Steven A. Tibbetts.

Back in August of 2019, Wenatchee Police Officers arrested a then 54-year-old Tibbetts for sexually assaulting a woman while she was unconscious. 

Investigators found photos and videos depicting Tibbetts assaulting the victim in eight separate incidents.

Shortly after Tibbetts’ arrest, Wenatchee Police Department realized they lost 84% of the evidence that was initially collected, due to not paying to renew their forensic software.

Then in Jan. of 2023, defense was made aware of an apology text Tibbetts sent to his victim back in 2019, made shortly before his arrest. 

On March 1, Defense Attorney Brandon Redal asked to dismiss this case with prejudice, and also moved to sanction the state for failing to disclose evidence and for violating the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.

Judge Robert E. Jourdan determined that prosecutors had three years to disclose this evidence to the defense attorneys and now evidence found on Tibbetts’ phone is inadmissible in court.

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This case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it can come back to court in the future. The case against Tibbetts is still active in Grant County Superior Court.

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