Former Triangle Motors owner Jay Dean Douglas was scheduled to be tried for the rape and human trafficking of a 12-year-old girl Tuesday, but his trial has been delayed for the fifth time and now may not start until March.
Douglas was originally arrested in March last year, but the case has been delayed numerous times. At least two arrest warrants have been issued because Douglas failed to show up for court appearances.
“In general, this has been delayed a number of times due to the defendant’s own behaviors,” Deputy Prosecutor Jason Laurine said Thursday.
The latest delay, Laurine said, came when Douglas’ attorney, Kevin Blondin, told the court Thursday that Douglas had failed to meet with him to discuss his defense.
“Mr. Blondin said he was unprepared because he’s had no communication with (Douglas),” Laurine said.
According to court records, Douglas told Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning on Thursday that he hadn’t seen his attorney since October.
Warning sent him back to jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. New trial dates will be set Wednesday. Douglas was out on bail for much of 2018, and may post bail again.
Laurine said he is coordinating with witnesses for a new trial that he hopes to schedule for some time in March.
Douglas, 57, and Longview woman Heather Hughes, 44, are accused of the rape and human trafficking of a then-12-year-old girl.
Police arrested the two in March on suspicion that Hughes frequently took the child to Douglas’ home and car dealership in the first half of 2017, where Douglas would engage in sexual acts with her. The child told police that Douglas provided Hughes with cash and clothing as compensation, court records say. Police also found photos of the child on Douglas’ business computer in a Feb. 8 search warrant, records say.
Douglas and Hughes admitted sometime in February or March that Hughes brought the child to Douglas’ business and residence, according to police records. Hughes also admitted to taking explicit photos of the child at Douglas’ request, and Douglas admitted to having photos of the child on his computer.
Hughes is scheduled for trial on Jan. 22.
Douglas was released in March on a $50,000 bond, but he failed to appear for a pretrial hearing in May. After being returned a week later, his bail was increased to $100,000 with new trial dates set for July. A defense motion pushed the trial date to September, but Douglas again failed to appear for a hearing that month.
On Sept. 21, Longview police officers pounded on the door of Douglas’ residence for more than an hour and a half while serving his motion for arrest, according to court documents. After obtaining a search warrant and entering the house, officers found two women, both with outstanding warrants, whom Douglas had instructed not to open the door for police. Officers found Douglas upstairs, “laying on his back on his bed” and “wearing only a bathrobe, which was worn agape.”
Douglas physically resisted officers and was forced into handcuffs. He was returned to jail again and his bail was boosted to $125,000, which he posted.
His trial was then scheduled for October, but the prosecutor’s office requested a delay due to witness scheduling, pushing the trial to Jan. 15.
On Thursday, that trial date was delayed once again. Laurine requested that Douglas be held without bail, but Judge Warning ordered him held in jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. He remained in jail as of late Thursday afternoon.
Case delays can be “problematic” for a number of reasons, Laurine said. Witnesses availability must be re-set, and attorneys often have to shuffle their other cases around.
Douglas’ attorney Kevin Blondin could not be reached Thursday.
Both Hughes and the victim are expected to testify at Douglas’ trial.
Douglas faces charges of second-degree child rape, two counts of second-degree child molestation, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree human trafficking, dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, possession of meth and two counts of bail jumping. The prosecutor’s office also intends to seek an exceptional sentence because Douglas has accumulated enough serious charges that some might go unpunished if he is convicted, Laurine said.
Hughes is charged with second-degree child rape, two counts of second-degree child molestation, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree human trafficking, possession of methamphetamine, and dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
They could each face life in prison. Laurine declined to discuss what sentence the prosecution will seek against Douglas or Hughes.
Douglas managed the now-gutted Triangle Motors in Longview, which is owned by a family trust and which burned down in May. A Longview Fire Department investigation could not determine the cause of the fire and police sought no charges. Douglas had been the only suspect. He told investigators at the time that he was in the repair garage when he saw the office building on fire.
Douglas served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged, according to his bail study. In 2010, he was sentenced to one year in prison for possessing child pornography and trying to extort his former defense attorney, Jim Morgan, whom he had accused of poorly representing him. Douglas bashed Morgan on a reader board at his used car lot and started a website to publicly scold Morgan.