Matthew Barnett, now 19, accepted a plea deal at the Nodaway County courthouse, ending a case that had become an embarrassment to Missouri authorities.
Barnett was accused of raping Maryville teen Daisy Coleman while she was drunk, then leaving her, freezing, on her mother’s doorstep in January 2012.
The case came to national prominence in October after the Kansas City Star published an article about Daisy’s accusations and raised questions about why Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice had dropped charges against Barnett.
Rice asked a local judge to appoint a special prosecutor to reexamine the case, and Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker took over.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse in Maryville on Thursday, Peters Baker said there was “insufficient evidence” to prove Barnett had raped Daisy.
“Today, Mr. Barnett was held accountable for his actions,” Peters Baker said, adding that Daisy and her mother, Melinda Coleman, had worked closely with her on the case and that Barnett’s attorneys agreed to the deal after a month of negotiations.
Barnett received two years’ probation for second-degree child endangerment. He was barred from contacting the Coleman family and ordered to serve 100 hours of community service and to pay $1,800 in restitution. He apologized in person to Peters Baker on Thursday, who said she would relay the apology to Daisy.
Barnett’s attorney, J.R. Hobbs, told reporters that his client “truly regrets” the incident, but added that the misdemeanor charge for leaving Daisy on a freezing porch “accurately reflects” the extent of the criminal actions that occurred that night.