JONESBORO — Citing the “wishes of the victim,” a circuit judge dismissed an August 2019 rape case after the prosecution dropped the charges.
Vuong Nguyen, 22, of Jonesboro, was accused of raping a then-18-year-old woman in a parking lot, according to previous Sun reporting.
Nguyen offered the victim a ride home from a party and instead drove her to the 4800 block of East Johnson Avenue and “forcefully penetrated” the teen, documents show. The victim was able to escape, leaving her iPhone and undergarments behind.
She reported the incident to the police when she arrived home, a previous report read. Investigators with the Jonesboro Police Department found her phone in Nguyen’s car and her clothing where his vehicle was parked, according to the probable cause affidavit.
“During the interview (he) exhibited signs of deception. Nguyen originally denied any involvement with the victim, but then changed his story to include physical contact,” the sworn document read.
Prosecutors charged him with rape – a Class Y felony punishable by up to a life sentence in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. He was later released on a $150,000 cash or surety bond.
Following his initial circuit court appearance, Nguyen’s plea and arraignment were initially set for late October 2019. Records show the hearing has been rescheduled several times since then, with the latest scheduled for Tuesday.
The trial period was set for March 1-12, nearly two years later. However, the Supreme Court of Arkansas extended its suspension of pending jury trials through April 30.
In a Monday hearing, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Charlene Davidson recommended that “it is in the best interest of the parties that this offense be nolle prossed,” the signed order read.
Under that provision, prosecutors have a year to refile charges against Nguyen if they wish. The nolle prosequi order was approved by prosecuting attorney Keith Chrestman.