Fallon Jury Acquits Sex Offender After New Trial

A convicted sex offender was acquitted of child molestation charges by a Fallon jury after the Nevada Supreme Court ruled details of a prior conviction couldn't be used at his trial.

Nicholas Pierre Ashley, 23, initially was found guilty in July 2005 of lewd conduct with a minor. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years.

But the Nevada Supreme Court overturned that conviction in March, ruling that evidence allowed during trial shouldn't have been heard by the jury.

Justices said details of Ashley's 2002 conviction in Lyon County for an attempted rape was irrelevant to the Fallon case and may have swayed the jury to convict him.

Ashley was tried a second time in Fallon last week.

Jurors deliberated about 90 minutes before voting to acquit him.

"When they came back so quickly it was obvious that they were affected by the evidence," said defense lawyer Martin Crowley.

"The evidence showed that he did not do this."

Ashley was accused of fondling the girl as she slept in her home in March 2005.

Ashley, a family friend, maintained his innocence during the trial.

He earlier was convicted of trying to rape a 14-year-old Fernley girl who passed out at a party after drinking.

He was 18 at the time.

He was paroled in July 2004 after serving 20 months of a 24- to 96-month sentence in the Nevada State Prison.

Ashley registered as a sex offender in Churchill County after moving there in 2004.

He had been classified as a low-risk offender, a level that does not require community notification or listing on a state sex offender Web site.