When police arrived at Christopher Precopia's workplace in September of last year to arrest him for "burglary with the intent to commit other crimes," he hadn't a clue what was going on.
"I had no idea why everything was happening, and I was lost," the 21-year-old Precopia told KVUE. Taken into custody at his job site, a lumberyard in Georgetown, Texas, Precopia was then transported to Williamstown County Jail and released after his family posted the $150,000 bond. Facing such a serious felony, Precopia was staring down the barrel of a harsh punishment: up to 99 years of prison time.
Shortly after his release, Precopia found out who filed the report that led to his arrest. In both oral and written statements given to police, his ex-girlfriend from high school detailed a fabricated story about how he broke into her home, pushed her to the ground, punched her in the face, and carved an 'X' into her chest with a box cutter. She later admitted to making the false accusations because of the tumultuous nature of their past relationship. In addition, her identity has not been made public due to the fact that she is not being charged with a crime.
As Precopia and his family worked to clear his name, his mother, Erin, realized that she had something on her phone that could absolve him of all the accusations: a family selfie taken during the exact date and hour that his accuser claimed the attack happened. Cellphone towers and geolocation services helped confirm that the Precopias were, in fact, 70 miles away at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. "By the grace of God, (the accuser) said it happened on the day when I can say totally, 100 percent, where he was at," Erin Precopia said.
Though he had a solid alibi, authorities charged him with the accused crimes despite the fact that police typically interview suspects before charging them. "You may not get any more information than you had, but it gives you an opportunity for the suspect to react, respond, deny," said Bruce Mills, a former Austin assistant police chief.
The charges were finally dropped on June 21 when Precopia's lawyer, Rick Flores, took his alibi evidence to Bell County prosecutors. "Most of the time, we deal with gray matters," Flores said. "It's not normally black or white. But this is one of those cases where I could definitely prove he did not commit this offense."
Though Christopher Precopia's name has been cleared, he and his family wonder how this slanderous tale will affect him in the future. "While (his family) is happy it ended up with a dismissal, and that it will be expunged from his record, the damage is kind of done," Flores said. "Nothing will ever be completely scrubbed from the Internet."
What do you think about this story? Should the ex-girlfriend face any kind of repercussions for her actions? Does Precopia deserve any kind of compensation from her or the authorities for hindering his life to such an extreme degree? Let us know in the comments down below!