Ashvegas: The City You Love. The News You Want.Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams announced Monday that he has dropped first-degree rape charges against two former Asheville Tourist players who were charged a year and a half ago. Michael Ryan Mason and Jesse Meaux, relief pitchers who were 23 in July 2013 when they were charged, have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Williams issued the following statement Monday:

The District Attorney’s Office must often make hard choices. The Asheville Tourists cases were first charged in August of 2013. These cases were passed by the former administration to my office for review on January 1, 2015. Upon completion of my review of these cases, in my discretion, I have elected to dismiss the charges filed against the Asheville Tourists defendants. Out of respect for the privacy of all involved I cannot comment further.

It was Bele Chere weekend when Mason and Meaux were alleged to have raped a woman at an apartment the two men shared. They were charged a week after the alleged incident. The case has lingered since.

Asheville defense attorney Al Messer, who represented Meaux, said Monday that his client “was adamaent from the beginning that he did nothing wrong.” The case lingered, though, and Messer said he and Meaux prepared to fight the charges at trial.

“We don’t know why it took as long as it did, but the new administration came along, did their own independent review and came to their conclusion that it wasn’t appropriate for prosecution,” said Messer, referring to the November election of Williams as district attorney. Williams replaced long-serving former District Attorney Ron Moore.

“We agree with that decision,” Messer continued. “He just wants the case to go away.” Messer said Meaux now lives in California, and “his baseball career is most likely over.”

Asheville defense attorney Steve Lindsay, who represented Mason in the case, said the two men cooperated fully with the investigation said he was glad to see the charges dismissed. “The charges should have been dismissed a long time ago,” Lindsay said.

“We are thankful for the result,” Lindsay added. “Unfortunately, there are some devastating consequences.”

“This is a guy whose dream was to play professional baseball, and he has probably lost his baseball career forever,” Lindsay said.

29 Comments

  1. It is pathetic that we are only in 5th place, given our 320 million population.

    If elected, I promise to produce the following:

    1. Faster horses
    2. Younger women
    3. Older whiskey
    4. More $
    5. Quicker, numerous and public executions

  2. jill martin says:

    the headline uses the word “exonerated,” though the d.a. was very neutral in his response.

  3. Interesting to see that Todd Williams donor, Al Messer, got his client’s rape charges dropped.

    There’s also a Stephen Lindsay who gave to Todd, not sure if it’s the same guy.

    Donation Record on Pages 1 and 15 of the Contribution Report: http://app.ncsbe.gov/webapps/cf_rpt_search_org/cf_report_image.aspx?DID=179045

    Al Messer again, Page 2 of the Contributions Report: http://app.ncsbe.gov/webapps/cf_rpt_search_org/cf_report_image.aspx?DID=175604

    All speculation, but if this is a one time thing, no one will remember in four years. If it’s not, he might lose the support of the police community heading into a future election.

    Unless, of course, this is another part of the fracturing between the progressives and police forces which has been occurring for some time now.

  4. Unaffiliated Voter says:

    the bigger decision yet to come is whether DA will call for the death penalty for the Codds’ murderer, Jason Owens … bigger litmus test of what we have there…

    • I would be shocked if he did. The death penalty doesn’t square with the progressive Utopia. We can warehouse them for life cheaper than we can kill them.

      • It’s comforting to know that we have a firm conservative base here who would never rush to judgment on political, social or criminal issues. They always have all the fair and balanced facts before commenting.

        • Don’t be a dope. “I would be shocked if he did” implies my subjective opinion. And it’s no secret that progressives hate the death penalty.

          • “it’s no secret that progressives hate the death penalty”

            As do 82% of the countries in the world.

            America is #6 in the number of people put to death by the State (2013), after The People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and our good friends the Kingdom of Saud. Great crowd we run with…

            At least we’re barely staying ahead of those bastions of civilization, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. But that’s probably just because of sheer population, not greater zeal. Damn.

            bit.ly/1CGWVph

          • Like I said Summers, some crimes are so heinous that they must be paid for with one’s life. Two things we could do to improve the death penalty in the U.S. Extend the penalty to pedophiles. And, carry out the sentences in public. THAT’S a deterrent.

          • “As do 82% of the countries in the world.”

            And the today’s logical fallacy IS . . .

            Argumentum ad Populum.

          • What’s the name for the logical fallacy of pulling one line out of an argument, pretending the rest didn’t exist, and then claiming that the entire argument is false?

            It’s not just the majority of peoples on the planet that have rejected the death penalty, it’s the nature of the dwindling number of countries that still practice it.

            The list of countries still executing their own citizens, ranked according to the number executed in 2013:

            1 People’s Republic of China
            2 North Korea
            2 Iran
            3 Iraq
            4 Saudi Arabia
            5 United States
            7 Somalia
            8 Sudan
            9 Yemen
            10 Japan
            11 Vietnam
            12 Taiwan
            13 Indonesia
            14 Kuwait
            15 South Sudan
            16 Nigeria
            17 Palestine
            18 Malaysia
            19 Afghanistan
            20 Bangladesh
            21 Botswana
            22 India

            How many of those countries share the language, values, standard of living, and/or predominant religions of the United States? None. All of our peers in the world community have ended the barbaric practice of the death penalty. And the few that are left are increasingly a club we shouldn’t want to belong to. That’s an argument distinct from mere numbers.

          • luther blissett says:

            That’s a new twist from Mouthpiece: libertarians for state-mandated killing done by government bureaucrats. Expecting coherence is probably too much from him.

            It’s all symbolic BS anyway: NC hasn’t executed a prisoner since 2006, and were the moratorium to end, the state would face the same problems as others in obtaining drugs, given how pharmaceutical companies don’t want to be associated with the machinery of death.

            “Extend the penalty to pedophiles.”

            If you truly believe that punishments actively influence the most serious crimes, then that’s the kind of deterrent more likely to encourage pedophiles to murder their victims. Some people are so motivated by medieval bloodlust that they really don’t think stuff through.

          • I don’t give 2 shitz what the rest of the world’s doing. As long as the majority of my fellow Americans see it my way (and they do), then it’s all good.

      • Execution does reduce recidivism 9 times out of 10.

  5. Other Scott says:

    Well this is all a very comforting comment section so far. District attorney concludes there isn’t enough of a case to charge someone with rape, and the immediate reaction is “Well why not? We wanted to convict them anyway!” Class act, guys…

    • Agree 100%. Haven’t we learned anything from recent false rape claims?

    • ashevillain says:

      The words in between your quotes appear absolutely nowhere in the comments section.

      • Other Scott says:

        “A dropped hot potato is still hot…”
        “I’m not sure exonerated is the word I would use…”

        Well what word would you use? You are *innocent* until proven guilty. That is how justice works in this country. These guys are no more guilty of rape than you or I are, and yet the attitude is one of “Well…maybe the *court* doesn’t think they’re guilty…but they can’t stop us from thinking they are.”

        Which is true, you can’t legislate public opinion, but the ethical approach is to give people the benefit of doubt. If a DA doesn’t believe there’s even enough there to bother taking something to trial, then there’s very likely nothing there.

  6. RobotDanceMonkey1975 says:

    Dropped doesn’t mean “innocent.” A dropped “hot potato” is still “hot.”

  7. ashevillain says:

    Not sure if “exonerated” is the word I’d use here.

    • Could just go by what the DA said—-he dismissed the charges, a fairly neutral comment. He didn’t exonerate anyone, nor did he say there wasn’t enough evidence to convict, which would have implied guilt.

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