The prosecution rested its case Thursday as Day Two of a Missoula man's rape trial came to a close.
Shane Pelletier was at his father's home in Butte in August 2017 when U.S. marshals came to the door to arrest him. Law enforcement in Missoula had been gathering evidence and conducting interviews over the past two months that pointed to Pelletier's alleged rape of a 19-year-old woman he found passed out in a parking garage downtown.
Pelletier's defense has argued, as Pelletier told detectives in 2017, that the intercourse was consensual and took place the next morning after the woman had sobered up.
Pelletier's father, Thomas, testified Thursday that his son seemed delighted in the encounter and that he had shared much about the woman: Pelletier thought she was cute, he had her phone number and believed he was going to see her again on a date.
The woman, however, texted a friend shortly after leaving Pelletier's downtown apartment, "… I basically just got raped."
That night the woman made the report to Missoula police and had a sexual assault examination done. In the following weeks, MPD Detective Connie Brueckner interviewed the woman, her friends, her then-boyfriend, meanwhile obtaining video from the bus station that showed the woman walking to the bus station with Pelletier.
The timestamp on that video shows them walking up to the bus nearly an hour before Pelletier said they had intercourse. Brueckner testified Thursday that when asked when the intercourse took place, Pelletier first said noon, then corrected himself to 10 a.m., but again corrected himself to say 9:30 a.m. At approximately 8:30 that morning is when the woman sent her friend the text about rape after she got on the bus.
Whether or not the alleged rape took place at night, as the woman alleges, or in the July 7 morning, as Pelletier claims, has been a repeated point of contention during the trial. The father of Pelletier testified that his son first told him they had sex that night, but said the story developed after charges were filed.
"It's possible because he told me something prior to there being any charges filed when he was visiting me in Butte," Thomas Pelletier said, "and then he told me more after the arrest."
After Pelletier was arrested, Thomas Pelletier said he told his son to write him a letter recounting the incident "for his benefit." Judge Greg Pinski, a Great Falls judge presiding over the case, has ruled that letter out of the case as hearsay. But Thomas Pelletier took the letter and began investigating the rape claims himself, talking with his son's neighbors about what they knew so he could turn that information over to police.
"I felt kind of helpless trying to see if there was anyone that could verify his story," he said Thursday.
It was Thomas Pelletier's birthday when his son was arrested in Butte in front of family and friends.
Pelletier is expected to testify as the defense opens its case Friday morning in the third and final day of his trial.