‘”The State of Minnesota hereby dismisses the above-captioned case.”
Those words gave a Minneapolis woman her life back after 11 months in fear that she might go to jail.
As of last Monday, the woman charged in the case, Nancy Fletcher, can go back to her life, cleared and vindicated. But she’s still traumatized, first by a man she believes drugged her in a bar, then by a system that didn’t believe her.
I first wrote about this travesty back in September. Fletcher and some friends (40-something preschool teachers and waitresses, all with clean records) stopped at a Minneapolis bar. A stranger brought beers for two of the women, including Fletcher, who drank hers. The other woman gave her beer to a male friend, Rich Barlow.
Within 30 minutes, Fletcher and Barlow were stumbling drunk. Their friends couldn’t understand how they had gotten so inebriated so quickly. But at one point, the stranger tried to escort Fletcher to the back of the bar.
Instead, the friends took Fletcher and Barlow to her house and put them to bed. The two had not been arguing or fighting. Thirteen minutes later, Fletcher called 911. She had stabbed her friend several times. Neither of them knew why, and neither could remember anything from that night.
One of the first questions a detective asked Barlow in the hospital was: “Did anyone buy you guys drinks?”‘