A plumber from central Oregon named Joshua Horner was sentenced to 50 years in prison on March 21, 2017, for allegedly sexually abusing a minor. The long prison sentence would have ruined a large remainder of his life, had it not been for a black Labrador named Lucy.
It all started when the complainant claimed that Horner had sexually abused a minor. Moreover, they said that Horner threatened her to stay quiet about the claim by shooting and killing her dog. However, Horner said that he hadn’t killed the person’s dog, and asked the Oregon Innocence Project for help. The organization then requested Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel for assistance in re-evaluating the case, to which Hummel agreed, detailed AP.
The dog in question, named Lucy, was eventually located and found to be in good health. This is what Lisa Christon from the Oregon Innocence Project had to say when they met up with the dog and her new owners.
“[Lucy]’s a very distinctive-looking black Lab; not purebred. She’s got this adorable shaped head and really long ears… She was drinking a bowl of water and sitting in shade underneath a porch. We played with her. Petted her. It was wonderful.”
The fact that the dog was still alive brought the complainant’s entire testimony into question, after which Deschutes County Judge Michael Adler dismissed the case.
That meant that Horner was able to walk away from prison, a free man, on August 3 after spending a year and a half in prison, according to The Bulletin. The D.A., Hummel, noted that it was uncertain whether the sexual abuse of the minor really occurred. However, since the dog was found alive, it was not possible to say for certain that it had. Hummel also issued an apology to Horner.
“Mr. Horner, on behalf of the state of Oregon, I apologize that untrue evidence was used against you in your trial… That should happen to no one.”
Meanwhile, the complainant has been avoiding officials, even running away from an investigator that was waiting for her at her home. They have refused to sit down to review their original testimony, and for now, the fact remains that they lied under oath.
Horner’s friends and family were present when the judge dismissed the case, and they burst into applause. One of his friends, Gary Lynch, said the following.
“What we’ve all learned from that is that it could happen to anybody at any time, and it’s probably the scariest thing you could think about.”