Rontarus Washington Jr. case
A man who was in custody of the Douglas County jail for more than five years while his case was still pending has filed a federal lawsuit against the county and its top elected law enforcement officials.
Rontarus Washington Jr., who spent several years behind bars charged with murder in a case that was eventually dismissed, has taken the first step toward filing a $3 million wrongful incarceration lawsuit against Douglas County.
The Douglas County district attorney has dismissed long-pending cases against Rontarus Washington Jr. and Albert Wilson, the office announced Wednesday.
Rontarus Washington Jr. will be able to have his GPS ankle monitor removed, the judge ruled Monday. Washington appeared overcome with relief.
On one of numerous dates that Rontarus Washington Jr.’s case was once set to go to retrial, counsel instead met Monday to firm up deadlines and hearings leading up to a trial nearly 10 months away.
Rontarus Washington Jr. will go to trial, for the second time, in 367 days.
An attorney who has signed on to the long-pending Rontarus Washington Jr. case said on a podcast released Wednesday that he had to apologize to his wife for taking another case in Kansas: “There’s no way I’m letting this go.”
Rontarus Washington Jr. appeared in court with one of his new Innocence Project defense attorneys Tuesday afternoon, and two others appeared via Zoom. Meanwhile, the Franklin County attorney says he will not prosecute the defense’s alternative suspect in an alleged sex crime attempt.
Rontarus Washington Jr.’s longtime defense counsel has withdrawn from the case, but it seems they’ll be replaced by the Midwest Innocence Project plus one of the two attorneys who recently argued — successfully — that Albert Wilson should get a new trial.
A judge refrained from ruling on Rontarus Washington Jr.’s defense attorneys’ motions to withdraw once again Wednesday, to allow Washington more time to speak with a third attorney about the situation.
Testimony of the embattled former coroner for Douglas County will likely face further scrutiny as a 2004 cold case has been determined to be a homicide.