The long-delayed trial of a former Longview used car lot owner accused of child rape and human trafficking is now set for March 19 in Cowlitz County Superior Court.
Jay Douglas and Heather Hughes, both of Longview, were arrested in March on suspicion that Hughes frequently took a 12-year-old girl to Douglas’ home and car dealership and allowed him to engage in sexual acts with the girl during 2017. Douglas has been in and out of jail since. Hughes’ trial was scheduled for Jan. 22, but was also delayed Thursday and is now set for March 26.
Douglas’ trial, originally scheduled for June, has been delayed five times, twice because Douglas failed to appear for court hearings. He faces two felony bail jumping charges in addition to drug possession, human trafficking, and child molestation, rape and porn charges.
His bail has been reset three times, both in May and September for failing to appear in court and a third time on Jan. 10 because he was charged with a new count of second-degree possession of child pornography.
Altogether, Douglas has had at least $175,000 in bail bonds revoked during the case. He remained in jail as of Thursday evening in lieu of $250,000 bail.
“Can you please reset my bail, so I can get out?” Douglas asked Judge Stephen Warning in court Thursday morning. Warning denied the request.
Douglas managed Triangle Motors in Longview, which burned down in May and which is owned by a family trust. A Longview Fire Department investigation could not determine the cause 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.
In the sex offense case, he is charged with second-degree child rape, two counts of second-degree child molestation, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree human trafficking, dealing and possessing sexually explicit depictions of a minor, possession of meth, and two counts of bail jumping. He could face life in prison.