Man charged with rape, kidnapping weeks after charges dropped

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A man who was questioned and released by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in December in connection with sexually assaulting three women was arrested Wednesday on new rape charges.

Lavatae Nacoma Evans, 31, is now charged with 1st degree rape of a victim 13 years old or older, two counts of first degree sex offense where the victim is 13 years old or older and kidnapping, according to arrest records from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office.

He was booked in the Mecklenburg County Jail early Thursday morning. Evans' bail is set at $235,000.

The latest victim said she was at the Charlotte Transportation Center when she ran into Evans. They left to go to smoke marijuana, according to police.

The victim says Evans then kidnapped her with a firearm and then sexually assaulted her at his Genesis Park home on Valentine's Day, according to the incident report.

Two months ago, he was accused of sexually assaulting three women in one day.

Evans was accused of holding two women at gunpoint in a hotel on Equipment Drive December 15th. At the time, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police said they questioned Evans but had insufficient evidence to hold him.

Hours later, he was arrested for attacking a third woman. Evans was charged in all three cases. The charges ranged from armed robbery, to kidnapping and sexual assault.

Evans was held for almost four weeks in the Mecklenburg County Jail. His bond was set by a judge at more than $800,000.

As of January 11th, all charges were dismissed.

Prosecutors say the evidence was not sufficient to move forward in a court of law. Among the evidence issues: prosecutors said the victims refused to allow rape kits to be done at the hospital, the DNA evidence on a weapon was inconclusive, and the victims had inconsistent stories about what happened.

In the past, CMPD often pre-screened certain cases with prosecutors to talk about what charges should be brought based on the evidence.

"Prescreening certainly has a value," said defense attorney James Wyatt. "The good part of this process is that the District Attorney's Office looked at the evidence...and dismissed the case when that was the right decision to make," he said.

In a statement, CMPD said these types of cases are often difficult to investigate and difficult to prosecute.

After the third assault and Evans' eventual arrest, CMPD responded to questions about whether the case should have been handled differently. At the time, CMPD said the officers followed procedure.

When it comes to evidence, police only need probable cause to arrest someone; prosecutors need to be able prove a case beyond reasonable doubt in court.

James said it sounds like the right decision was made. "Most people remember when the charges are brought, not when the case is dismissed," he said talking about why a quick resolution was important.

In terms of court time, the resolution was fairly quick. Evans was cleared less than four weeks after his arrest.

WBTV went by the last known address of Lavatae Evans, but it appeared no one was home.

His next court hearing is set for Friday at 1 p.m.

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