Ithaca, N.Y. — Prosecutors have dropped predatory sexual assault charges against a man after his accuser was killed in a crash in Ithaca in December, according to Ontario County Assistant District Attorney Jason MacBride.
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Jeremia Brinson, 46, of the city of Geneva, pleaded guilty on Friday to assault in the second degree and aggravated family offense, both felonies, according to MacBride.
However, because his accuser died in an accident on Route 96, Brinson will not stand trial on the more serious charge of predatory sexual assault.
Without the accuser’s testimony, prosecutors do not have enough evidence to bring the sexual assault charges, according to MacBride.
“We felt we had enough evidence to go forward on some of the charges based upon medical records and other witnesses’ testimony,” MacBride says.
“However, with regard to the predatory sexual assault charges there was no evidence outside the victim … She was the crux of the case.”
Brinson would have faced 10 years to life in prison had those charges been brought, the ADA said.
The most Brinson will now face is one to three years behind bars.
A pedestrian’s sudden death
At around 4:44 a.m. on Dec. 4, 2014, a 43-year-old female hitchhiker was hit by a box truck while walking on Route 96 in the town of Ithaca. She was found on the east side of the road, north of the Cayuga Medical Center, and pronounced dead on the scene.
Speed and alcohol were both quickly ruled out as factors in the crash. No charges have been filed against the driver, said Senior Investigator Jody Coombes of the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office in an interview a few weeks after the crash.
The darkness of the road likely contributed to the accident, Coombes said. There were no signs of wrongdoing on the driver’s part, according to law enforcement.
Brinson was in jail at the time of the crash, according to ADA MacBride.
There’s no indication Brinson had anything to do with his accuser’s death, according to the ADA.
The charges against Brinson
Before his accuser’s death, Brinson faced four charges: 1) Predatory sexual assault, 2) Aggravated family offense, 3) Felony assault, 4) First-degree coercion.
The bulk of the charges stemmed from an incident on or about July 14, 2014, when Brinson forced the victim to perform oral sex on him while inserting a screwdriver into her mouth, according to law enforcement.
Brinson also hit the victim “multiple times” with the screwdriver, MacBride said. That resulted in injuries to her face and head.
Brinson and the victim went to school together in the city of Geneva and grew up together as children. They started dating about a year-and-a-half ago, according to MacBride.
But Brinson had a history of trouble with the law that included a domestic violence charge in 2012 and other domestic violence incidents, according to MacBride. (Brinson also served 11 years on a first-degree robbery charge, according to The Daily Messenger of Canandagiua.)
“Mr. Brinson is a maniac,” MacBride said.
In addition to the incident with the screwdriver, there were “a couple other allegations of domestic violence” with the victim who died in Ithaca, according to MacBride. Brinson threatened the woman “so she felt she couldn’t not report those allegations to the police,” according to the ADA.
After the woman’s death, MacBride said his first concern was for her son — someone who had already been through too much. Prosecutors then began piecing through what they could of the case to understand what charges they could continue to prosecute.
The ADA said he’s glad that although the predatory sexual assault charge had to be dropped, prosecutors were able to salvage a case against Brinson.
“We’re relieved that he’s going to prison for some time,” MacBride said.