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Juan Caballero

Other North Dakota Exonerations
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In May 1997, 45-year-old Reinaldo Vasquez and 31-year-old Juan Caballero were arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a male co-worker at Drayton Foods in Fargo, North Dakota, where all three men worked.

The 27-year-old complaint, B.S., was a forklift operator. He said that on May 6, 1997, he was summoned by intercom to a quality control room in the food warehouse. B.S. said that when he went into the room, Caballero came toward him and while they stood face-to-face, Caballero put his arms around him and tightly held his arms to his sides. Vasquez then approached from behind, pulled down his pants, and raped him.

Vasquez and Caballero went to trial in Cass County District Court in October 1997. The prosecution’s case relied almost solely on the testimony of B.S., who was mentally disabled and suffered from depression. On October 30, 1997, Vasquez was convicted of gross sexual imposition. Caballero was convicted of being an accomplice to gross sexual imposition.

Vasquez was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Caballero was sentenced to four years in prison.

In 2004, B.S., then 35 years old, was arrested in Cass County for stealing a car. While in custody, he told authorities that he had falsely accused Vasquez and Caballero because they had been teasing him at work.

By that time, Caballero had served his sentence and had been deported to his native Mexico. A lawyer for Vasquez filed a motion for a new trial in 2005.

On February 18, 2005, East Central District Judge Steven Marquart granted the motion and vacated Vasquez’s conviction. The prosecution then dismissed the charge.

Caballero’s wife, Maria, who had moved to Texas with their daughter, eventually hired a lawyer to file a motion to vacate Caballero’s conviction. On May 22, 2008, that motion was granted and the prosecution dismissed the charge.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 11/7/2017
State:North Dakota
County:Cass
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1997
Convicted:1997
Exonerated:2008
Sentence:4 years
Race:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:31
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No