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Prosecutor says more investigation needed on alleged rape case

The order of dismissal of all charges against Douglas L. Blackburn, 50, was dated Friday, June 27.  - File photo 2014 / Whidbey News-Times
The order of dismissal of all charges against Douglas L. Blackburn, 50, was dated Friday, June 27.
— image credit: File photo 2014 / Whidbey News-Times

The Island County prosecutor has dismissed charges against a man who was accused of rape by a former girlfriend.

On June 18, prosecutors charged Douglas L. Blackburn, 50, in Island County Superior Court with third-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation. Both were charged as domestic-violence-related crimes.

The order of dismissal of all charges was dated Friday, June 27.

Prosecutor Greg Banks said his office determined that additional investigation was needed.

“Since Mr. Blackburn was in custody, there was a 60-day deadline to get his case to trial,” Banks said via email. “In consultation with detectives, we concluded that the investigation would not be completed in time, so we dismissed without prejudice.”

The “without prejudice” stipulation allows the prosecutor to refile charges later based on the results of further investigation, Banks explained.

Banks said he couldn’t comment on any specific facts of the case as the investigation is still ongoing.

Blackburn’s arrest stemmed from a call to 911 on June 14. A brief manhunt ensued and led to a North Whidbey resident’s yard.

The charges could have resulted in as much as one year and eight months in prison, plus an additional year for the “sexual motivation enhancement.”

Blackburn’s ex-girlfriend claimed she was held against her will inside a travel trailer in a secluded North Whidbey area for nearly a week; the 42-year-old woman claimed he raped her repeatedly, according to the report by a detective with the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

After his arrest, Blackburn told deputies that he had not held the woman against her will and she could have left whenever she wanted.

He also told officers that he and the woman got into an argument and she threw feces at him, so he threw it back at her, according to the report.

When Blackburn appeared in Island County Superior Court, Judge Vickie Churchill said she found probable cause to keep him in custody.

Blackburn didn’t make any statements but continually shook his head.

Blackburn could not be reached for comment.

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