A Flagstaff man arraigned in 2016 for allegedly sexual assaulting a woman has yet to see a jury. The suspect allegedly assaulted the woman while his teenage stepson was home and attempted to silence the female victim after a holiday-party.
The trial for suspect Noah Best will be in Judge Mark Moran's Division 3. Best was in custody for a single night, and released after posting $100,000 bond. He has taken multiple court-approved vacations to New Mexico and Washington over the past two years before the trial.
Best allegedly attempted to silence the victim and a witness in the case through bribery and manipulation.
According to the Flagstaff Police Department report, the suspect invited three people, including the woman, to continue drinking at his home late after a holiday party, November 2016.
A designated driver mentioned he saw the woman and suspect kissing at one point. The driver was unsure if the feelings were mutual or if she was attempting to deny him. They both had significant others.
While the driver drove a third party-goer home, he received a text from the woman.
“Save me,” it said.
The woman would later tell officers that the suspect’s advances became more obvious once they were alone. She sent multiple follow-up messages from Best’s bathroom.
“It’s not what I want.”
“Please come back.”
The woman called her boyfriend from the bathroom for help, but she said the designated driver would be back soon to take her home. The woman told police the suspect entered the bathroom through the unlocked door and tried to kiss her.
Best allegedly told her he wanted to show her his gun collection in his closet, which he did. After, he started taking off his clothes and kissing her. The woman told police that she told him to stop, but despite her attempts, he pushed her onto his bed and began to take her clothes off.
The designated driver returned and told police he could hear the woman crying “no” from Best’s bedroom. He ran to the bedroom and saw the suspect having sex with the woman. Allegedly Best stopped after hearing the driver yelling, and the woman took the driver's keys and ran outside.
The woman alleged the next day the man offered to help her with her financial troubles, including offering $1,000. The driver also told police that the suspect attempted to tell police that the woman had made the sexual advances and offered him money as well.
According to court documents, the defendant plans to assert that the sexual intercourse was consensual.
Since his arraignment, according to court filings, Best has traveled to New Mexico and Washington with his family. He has also changed his attorney.
“There has been an irretrievable breakdown in the attorney-client relationship, despite repeated efforts to remedy the situation,” Best said in his motion to remove counsel.
He is currently represented by Phoenix criminal defense lawyer Jason Lamm.
The most recent development included the defense’s attempts to retrieve photo or video evidence of the medical examination by the Northern Arizona Care and Services After Assault. According to the defense, the state had the evidence but was not giving it to the defense.
Judge Moran denied the motion, and didn't find the evidence relevant to the case. In his denial, he said that the state did not have the evidence either.
“Defendant has failed to cite any fact or law which would show a substantial need for this information. The results of the colposcopy contain very sensitive photographic information about the victim,” said Moran in his order. “Defendant must make a showing that said evidence is relevant to the guilt or innocence of defendant.”
The pretrial conference is set for Dec. 8, 2018.