The state has dropped a felony sexual battery charge against a Key West boat captain due to lack of evidence in the case, according to the Monroe County State Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors didn't even file an official charging document in the case against 30-year-old Kyle Christopher Heller, said Assistant State Attorney Val Winter.
"The state is unable to establish every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt," Winter said, quoting a legal document called a no-action memorandum that was filed on July 2.
In other words, the case ended before it began. The second-degree felony carried a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison.
"This whole ordeal cost me my job and $20,000 in bail and legal fees," Heller said. "It ruined my life. I couldn't even get a doorman job after it was over. They just took her word. I expected them to come to my house and take my sheets or something. That didn't happen. This ruined my life. I think it's wrong what happened. I'm scraping by now and barely making rent."
Winter declined to elaborate on the specific problems prosecutors had with the case.
"From conversations I had with the assistant state attorney's office, they didn't feel the case should progress after they spoke with Mr. Heller and the alleged victim," said Heller's defense attorney, Darren Horan. "I give credit to the State Attorney's Office for handling this case correctly."
Heller was arrested in May at his former job at a Key West watersports company six weeks after a woman's claim that she was raped after a night of drinking with Heller.
She reported the rape at 1 a.m. March 27, about five hours after she met Heller at a Greene Street bar, according to police incident reports.
They went to Heller's Old Town home, where they kissed and "the next thing she remembers was waking up on a bed face down," with a pillow pressed over the back of her head while Heller raped her, police reported.
The woman said she screamed while on the bed because she wanted him to stop and was asking for help, according to a detective's report.
Heller denied any wrongdoing from the start of the investigation. He said the woman consented to sex and that he only placed a pillow over her head because "she was moaning really loud," according to an incident report.
The Citizen typically does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.