Sex assault suspect released from jail - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Sex assault suspect released from jail

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Ryan Joseph Festa Ryan Joseph Festa
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -

Police say two women were recently raped in Scottsdale and they released a sketch of the suspect on Thursday.

Ryan Joseph Festa, 22, turned himself in and allegedly confessed to the crimes -- but was in the process of being released from jail on Saturday afternoon.

A judge refused to hold him on the rape charges because of a lack of evidence.

Festa was held for about a day and a half at the 4th Avenue Jail on far lesser charges.  Instead of rape and kidnapping, he's now being charged with drug possession after police found drugs inside his home while executing a search warrant.

Police say after meeting with Festa Thursday night, they felt they had enough evidence to charge him, but the judge says he wants more.

The judge wants to see lab results and forensic evidence tying Festa to the crimes before he can be charged.

"I just met with Mr. Festa a few minutes ago, again he maintains his innocence," Festa's attorney Bernardo Garcia said Friday night.

Garcia told FOX 10 his client denies sexually assaulting the two victims in Scottsdale -- one at the Camden San Paloma apartments, the other at the Saddletree apartments. Festa apparently lives at Camden San Paloma.

As for why Festa turned himself in, his attorney's explanation is somewhat bizarre.

"Mr. Festa decided to present himself to Scottsdale PD because he wanted to give them the opportunity to look at him and determine whether they wanted to pursue any other comparisons between him and the sketch," said Garcia.

A closer look at Festa's criminal past raises some questions.  Out of nearly a dozen cases, ranging from assault charges to shoplifting, nearly all were dismissed.

But one question that did come into play in two previous cases, one as recent as last year, was the issue of mental competency.  Festa has undergone court ordered psychiatric evaluations.

Garcia wouldn't go into any detail about them, but he did say "Should Mr. Festa be released into the community, we will assure he receives any mental health care he needs if any."

We did talk to Scottsdale police.  They say it could take a couple of weeks before they get the lab test results back.  However, they tell us they're confident they have the right guy and that they are not seeking any other suspects.

Saturday, a new court date was set and Festa was released on his own recognizance.

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