An Oregon man is now free after garnering headlines when a lesbian couple accused him of a road rage assault — something prosecutors now doubt.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said in a press conference Monday he had “significant and troubling” doubts about the women’s story, according to the Bend Bulletin. He dropped all charges against Barbeau.
Megan Stackhouse, 34, and Lucinda Mann, 26, had accused Jay Allen Barbeau, 48, of chasing them down in his pickup truck, punching out a window in their car, assaulting both women and snapping Stackhouse’s arm with his bare hands.
Not only were the charges against Barbeau dropped, but Stackhouse herself was charged with assault in a separate road rage case for allegedly punching a woman on Mother’s Day in May, according to the Bulletin.
District Attorney Hummel came to doubt the women’s story, in part, because they were involved in several other bizarre traffic incidents, according to the Oregonian. Their version of events also didn’t line up with medical records and witness statements, he said.
The victim of Stackhouse’s alleged aggression in the Mother’s Day case said Stackhouse crashed into her car twice, punched her in the face and was "very abusive," according to the Bulletin.
Another incident occurred just days after the couple accused Barbeau of assault, when they were leaving a brewery in Bend. In that incident, Mann allegedly “intentionally threw herself onto the hood of a car in the road and then flopped to the ground,” said Hummel, according to the Bulletin.
The couple was also involved in reporting at least two other traffic incidents. Police couldn’t verify their claims in one case, in which Mann claimed to have been struck by a van, and in another Mann was found lying on the road “acting unconscious,” according to the Bulletin.
The women initially claimed they had turned in front of Barbeau’s pickup truck while leaving a local cider festival. They said he then chased them down and viciously attacked them, snapping Stackhouse's arm and giving Mann a concussion.
But according to Barbeau’s attorney, Stackhouse actually hopped a curb in her Kia Soul and almost hit Barbeau’s vehicle. The couple then repeatedly flipped off Barbeau and his wife, according to Barbeau’s attorney Casey Baxter.
After that, Barbeau did chase down the women and punch out one of the window’s in their car, according to Baxter. “He really never once struck any of those women,” Baxter said, according to the Oregonian.
“Barbeau’s acts of chasing after Stackhouse in his car and punching her window were outrageous and unacceptable,” Hummel said, according to the Bulletin. “For this he served 11 days in jail and received national ridicule and condemnation… This is more than enough punishment.”
Barbeau wept when he was released Monday, according to his lawyer. “He just wants to get home to his wife,” Baxter said. “This is the longest they’ve been apart.”
[Photo: Deschutes County Sheriff's Office]