Last week, a Spokane Superior Court Judge dismissed five counts of indecent exposure against a man simply because deputy prosecutors failed to prove the crimes were committed in Spokane County. Now, prosecutors are trying to have the judge's decision overturned.
Mikhail G. Karpov is suspected of exposing and touching himself at five Spokane area locations when he could get unsuspecting victims close enough to his car.
During the previous trial, alleged victims testified about where Karpov reportedly exposed himself, but deputy prosecutors did not explicitly ask the witnesses if the crimes happened in Spokane County.
Alleged victim Hannalora Baldwin showed up in court last week and testified that Karpov had exposed himself at her bus stop at Empire & Nevada. However while she was on the stand, prosecutors forgot to ask one really important question.
“They didn't ask if it happened in Spokane County which I felt like me giving them exactly where it happened at was enough,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin is not the only person who thinks giving street names establishes the crime was committed in Spokane County.
“The case law supports the notion that that type of circumstantial evidence is sufficient to establish the county or the location in which the crime occurred,” said Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell.
Another group of alleged victims testified that Karpov exposed himself to them as they walked between North Pines Middle School and Broadway Elementary. Haskell says higher courts have held that if a local jury is likely to recognize the locations witnesses are referring to, a specific question about Spokane County is not necessary.
“We will be pursuing an appeal because we do disagree with the decision in that particular case and we'll see what the outcome is,” Haskell said.
In the meantime Spokane's Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is worried Karpov will look at the dismissed charges as an opportunity to allegedly re-offend.
“We want to make sure that our children are safe and taken care of,” Sheriff Knezovich said. “We know this individual repeated once i have no doubt he'll repeat again.”
When the charges against Karpov were dropped on Friday, prosecutors asked Judge Vance Peterson to reconsider his decision based on case law and the judge said no. Now prosecutors have to bump this case up to superior court and try to have the charges reinstated.