AUGUSTA — A judge on Wednesday declared a mistrial in a case in which a Hancock County man stands accused of sexually assaulting a woman in an Augusta hotel room after being introduced to her — by first name only — minutes earlier outside a Water Street bar.

Brandon M. Deraps, 27, of Franklin, pleaded not guilty to gross sexual assault, assault and criminal threatening charges, all in connection with events late on Oct. 7, 2017. The judge’s ruling came on the second day of his trial at the Capital Judicial Center.

The mistrial was declared after the jury deadlocked. The jurors had returned to the courtroom at 4:20 p.m. Wednesday after deliberating for three hours and sending a note saying they were deadlocked. Justice William Stokes sent them back to try again.

An hour later, the jury sent a similar note, and Stokes questioned them individually whether they think further deliberations would help.

Most said, “No,” and a few said they were uncertain.

Both the prosecutor and the defense attorney told jurors this was a case of “he said, she said” with some outside evidence.

In closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian said the victim described a sex assault in her testimony, but Deraps “described a romantic encounter.”

Tarpinian pointed to evidence showing 17 minutes elapsed between the victim’s first and second phone calls to her mother. In the first, the woman tells her mother she’s not feeling well and asks her to come get her at the hotel room.

In the second, Tarpinian said the victim was incoherent, but her mother understood she was saying she had been raped and told her to call police.

The woman did so, and she underwent a four-hour sexual assault examination at MaineGeneral Medical Center.

The woman told police Deraps forced her to comply, holding her by the hair, punching her on the right side of the face, biting her and threatening her if she didn’t cooperate.

“She survives this,” Tarpinian told jurors. “She understands what’s going to happen.”

Defense attorney Walter McKee showed a series of close-up color photos of the victim on a large courtroom monitor and asked jurors to check for anything other than a small scratch on the woman’s head, neck and ankles.

He argued that the photos taken during the examination by a specially trained forensic nurse were evidence that Deraps did not harm the victim “because it didn’t happen.”

McKee also pointed to evidence showing that a couple occupying an adjacent hotel room and the man in the room across the hall all told police there heard no disturbance that night from the woman’s room.

The victim testified that she screamed and that at one point she hit Deraps with a cellphone.

McKee also reminded jurors that the victim testified that she has contacted an attorney about filing a civil lawsuit against Deraps seeking money damages.

Throughout the trial, 14 family members and friends of Deraps have sat behind him in the public area of the courtroom. Several family members of the woman he is alleged to have assaulted were in the courtroom for some of the time as well.

Deraps was arrested on the charge in February 2018 and later pleaded not guilty to an indictment. He has been free on bail.

Deraps testified Wednesday morning that he had five or six beers at one bar and that he and a friend were about to walk into Shenanigans on Water Street in Augusta when two “pretty girls” emerged. Deraps said one jumped into the arms of his friend and wrapped her legs around him.

Deraps said the women indicated they were heading back to their hotel room, but the jumper asked Deraps to take her friend back to her hotel because she wasn’t feeling well and had been drinking. The first woman — who testified to her level of intoxication as a 9 out of 10 — wanted to stay and drink with Deraps’ friend, Deraps said.

“I said, ‘Now, that seems a little strange,'” Deraps testified. He said he agreed to do so once they were introduced by first name. The woman’s friend gave her car keys to Deraps, and he said he planned to leave the car at the hotel once he dropped the woman off and return by taxi.

But Deraps said the woman told him to bring the keys up to her hotel room and then patted the bed while inviting him to sit down next to her.

He said they had consensual sex and that she was not upset when he left shortly afterward.

When McKee asked how he felt when he was accused of sexual assault a couple days later, Deraps responded, “I was shocked.”

He also said he could not remember the woman’s name and had not asked for any contact information for her.

“I felt like it was just a random girl that you hooked up with,” Deraps testified.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.