An Orleans Parish magistrate commissioner found insufficient evidence for the arrest in New Orleans last month of a Baton Rouge teenager accused of raping a 16-year-old girl the night after his high school’s state championship football game in December.
Pryce Fletcher, 19, was booked on a simple rape count last month and released on $7,500 bond.
At a hearing this week, police and an acquaintance of the girl testified about the incident, with the friend saying that the girl referred to herself as having had sex with Fletcher.
Police have said the girl and Fletcher met among friends while out drinking on Bourbon Street and then went back to a room at the Marriott on Canal Street.
The victim told detectives on Jan. 12 that she didn’t recall much between the time Fletcher approached her that night and when she awoke in a hotel room to Fletcher standing near the door telling her to hurry up so they could leave, a police report states.
When Fletcher, a former student at Parkview Baptist, contacted the victim later about a jacket she’d left in the room, the girl asked Fletcher if they’d had sex, the report says.
After “eluding her initially,” the report says, Fletcher said they did and told her not to tell anyone. Fletcher “continuously sent her Snapchats to not say anything,” the girl told detectives, referring to a messaging app that erases messages shortly after opening.
DNA evidence collected from the victim’s underwear matched a sample taken from Fletcher under a search warrant, the report says.
But a friend of the victim testified Wednesday that the girl came down to the hotel lobby that morning with her shirt inside-out. She went into a nearby bathroom with the girl to straighten her out.
“She said, ‘I have to tell you a secret. I just had sex with Pryce,’” the friend testified. “I said, are you and your boyfriend together? She said yes.”
The girl then said, “‘I know I’m such a slut. My boyfriend’s going to hate me. I don’t know what to do,’” the friend said. “She was upset she cheated on her boyfriend. Then she kind of flipped a switch and said, ‘I don’t know Pryce. Who’s that?’”
A New Orleans Police Department sex crimes detective, Keisha Ferdinand, testified that the girl’s parents brought her to the hospital for a rape exam.
Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn found no probable cause following the hearing. Assistant District Attorney Payal Patel said she would appeal the ruling.
Either way, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office could still file a bill of information against Fletcher for the alleged rape.
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