Dustin J. Dailey was found innocent Friday of one count of home invasion and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, by reason of involuntary intoxication.
The 27-year-old Rock Island man was arrested, naked and bloody, in the early morning hours of July 28, 2011, and accused of breaking into a 78-year-old woman's Rock Island home, disarming her and biting her through her pajamas. He then ran from the residence, jumped a six-foot fence and wrestled with a man and woman who lived several houses away.
The night prior, Mr. Dailey and friend Tyson Smith, 37, of Sterling, had smoked marijuana at the Rock Island apartment of Ashley Kuster, Mr. Dailey's sister, allegedly ingested additional drugs at a Bettendorf home and then returned to the apartment, where Mr. Dailey stripped off his clothes and, plagued by hallucinations and visions, had run out the door, according to prior court testimony.
If there was any example by which to encourage people to avoid drugs, "this would be the case," said Judge Walter Braud during his ruling at the conclusion of a four-day bench trial in Rock Island County Circuit Court.
Despite sufficient evidence suggesting Mr. Dailey did break into the elderly woman's home, "there is no question he was temporarily out of his mind at the time," due to involuntarily consuming a synthetic drug, such as PCP, the judge said. Additionally, he said there was no indication the subsequent incident with the elderly woman had involved sexual penetration.
Following the ruling, Mr. Dailey hugged attorney Dora Villarreal as his mother and sister smiled from their seats in the courtroom.
"He hasn't felt the sun on his skin in 17 months," said Joni Dailey, who said justice would not have been served had her son remained in prison.
"He's an incredible young man," she added, as the family left the courthouse to collect Mr. Dailey, who was released from custody shortly after the judge's ruling.
Earlier that morning, Ms. Villarreal suggested her client's temporary bout of insanity had been the result of being drugged by his love-struck friend Tyson Smith.
On the night of July 27, 2011, the two men, after smoking marijuana at Ms. Kuster's apartment, had driven to a Rock Island gas station, where Mr. Smith had returned from the bathroom with an unidentified gray substance on his hands and got into the car, which contained a number of open drinks, the attorney said.
The two men had proceeded to a Bettendorf apartment, where Mr. Smith had made several non-alcohol mixed drinks from infant formula, coffee creamer, milk, juice and soda, insisting that both he and Mr. Dailey drink them.
Soon after, both men stripped to their underwear and kissed.
Mr. Dailey testified he had no recollection of the incident and had never before had an encounter with a man.
Mr. Smith, who had been improperly taking his bi-polar medication and was in the midst of a nervous breakdown, said the night had been a foggy one. In prior testimony, he called Mr. Dailey "a brother" and said he believed they would one day move in together.
Those beliefs, Ms. Villarreal said during her closing statements Friday, had been provoked by Mr. Smith's "jealous love" for Mr. Dailey -- a young man with a good job, a loving family and no prior criminal record.
"I think, in a way, he did fall in love with Dustin," Ms. Villarreal said, adding that Mr. Smith had several opportunities the evening of July 27, 2011, to drug Mr. Dailey and lower his inhibitions.
Judge Braud decided Friday that Mr. Smith's mental health issues explained inconsistent statements he made during an October 2011, police interview and in testimony given Wednesday. As such, Mr. Smith had not committed perjury, the judge said.
Prior medical testimony indicated Mr. Dailey had been in a temporary psychosis due to synthetic drugs -- most likely PCP or bath salts.
During a police interview at the hospital on July 28, 2011, Mr. Dailey speculated the marijuana he had smoked may have been laced with something, accounting for hallucinations and irrational beliefs he had had, including that his family members were in peril, that the elderly victim had been his grandmother and that her home contained his ex-girlfriend, who lived in Las Vegas.
He also wrestled a man in a neighboring area that night, believing the resident was going to kill his wife, whom Mr. Dailey had never met before but believed was his mother.
In her closing, Assistant Rock Island County State's Attorney Margaret Osborn argued that Mr. Dailey knowingly, and illegally, smoked marijuana and that there was no evidence he had been forced to take, or involuntarily given, additional drugs.
As such, she said Mr. Dailey was "criminally responsible for his conduct." She added that Mr. Smith had been used as "a scapegoat" in the case.
Mr. Dailey initially pleaded guilty on May 17 to the home invasion charge and one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault. He was allowed to withdraw the plea after medical testimony suggested he may have been on synthetic drugs at the time.
Involuntary intoxication is not a commonly used defense and often can be very difficult to prove, Ms. Villarreal said after the conclusion of the trial.
"There aren't really going to be any winners in this case because of what both parties went through," she said. "But I do think the judge did a really thorough analysis of all the facts, of all of the testimony and of all of the witnesses and did the best job of trying to find justice in such a difficult case."
Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.