BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WALA) - Baldwin County District Attorney Hallie Dixon said it's a scary pattern she sees all too often. Victims of domestic violence report abuse but then change their story.
"Something is happening at various stages where he/she (a suspect) gets to them and/or others, and they start to go back on their telling of the truth," Dixon said.
Mario Mendez, who was arrested Monday, May 20 on kidnapping and domestic charges, has a criminal history of domestic violence. He is accused of holding a woman against her will in his home for three days.
In 20011, Mendez was charged with kidnapping and domestic violence for holding a victim at his house for three days and beating her.
In 2009, he was charged with domestic violence for allegedly pouring toxic drain cleaner on a woman.
Dixon said Mendez never went to trial on the 2009 or 2011 charges because neither victim wanted to prosecute.
"The Mendez case is a very good example of that hole in domestic violence cases that we've got to figure out of a way of bridging," Dixon said.
Even though the victims in both the 2009 and 2011 cases recanted their stories, Dixon said the state may still be able to proceed with prosecution.
"When the evidence lines up, and we know the first story is true and she's beaten to a pulp, she comes in and changes her story, even if she doesn't want to prosecute, we have to," Dixon said.
As long as the case has not been dismissed with prejudice, the state can seek to re-indict or recharge the case.
Dixon said first though, the state must look at the statute of limitations.
Because the previous cases never went to trial, Dixon said they will not count for sentencing enhancements in the sense of a habitual offender if Mendez goes to trial on the most recent charges.
However, Dixon said if the state proceeds with the previous cases, it will ask the court to consider the appropriate sentence for Mendez.
Federal authorities say an Alabama man has been charged in a slaying at an Army post in southeast Georgia, but officials are releasing few details about the case.
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