Douglas County prosecutors have dismissed a sexual battery case against a 28-year-old Douglas County man who was granted a new trial and already served nearly five years in prison in the case.
Jason Ellison was no longer listed in custody at Douglas County Jail on Friday, and his defense attorney Napoleon Crews said he had met with Ellison earlier Friday morning.
“Mr. Ellison was elated, to say the least, when he learned that freedom’s door had opened to him,” Crews said. “As for me, it’s a wonderful feeling to be part of justice being done.”
A Douglas County jury in November 2006 convicted Ellison of aggravated sexual battery and acquitted him of attempted aggravated criminal sodomy. A sister of Ellison’s former girlfriend in July 2006 accused him of attempting to molest her twice, according to court records.
Chief District Judge Robert Fairchild after the original trial sentenced Ellison to serve 22 years in prison, but Fairchild in July granted him a new trial after Ellison and his attorneys argued new evidence pointed to his innocence. Several witnesses emerged after the first trial because of an investigation by student interns at the Kansas University School of Law’s Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies.
“Mike Kelly and the Paul E. Wilson project also deserve much credit for their efforts on Mr. Ellison’s behalf,” Crews said.
At least four people testified at a hearing in July they heard the woman say after the trial her allegations were not true. And Ellison testified at the same hearing that the woman was lying and said he believed the woman made up the allegations because he was caught cheating on her sister. Last summer’s developments and the granting of a new trial followed a previous decision from the Kansas Court of Appeals to uphold Ellison’s conviction. The Kansas Supreme Court had also refused to hear his appeal.
“We remain confident that the original trial resulted in the right outcome, an outcome that was confirmed by the court of appeals,” Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said Friday.
Branson said several factors contributed when his office decided whether to pursue the second trial.
“We have taken into consideration the amount of time since the crime was committed, the trauma of a retrial to the victim and the fact that the defendant has served a number of years for this offense,” Branson said. “For these reasons, we have chosen to dismiss the case.”