The state this week asked to dismiss the case against a Lincoln man, rather than try him for a fourth time on suspicion of sexual assault.

Lamar Neal's first three trials ended in mistrials.

Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly said Wednesday his office made the decision after taking into consideration the fact that this would have been the fourth time for the now-17-year-old accuser to go through a trial.

And the fact that Neal's most recent trial ended Feb. 7 with the jury deadlocked, which served as an indicator as to the strength of the case, he said.

"It's not a conclusion we like, but that's where we are," Kelly said.

The first two trials, both in January, ended in mistrials on defense motions after the jury heard testimony that District Judge Steven Burns ruled it shouldn't have.

On Tuesday, Burns dismissed the case after Kelly's office filed a motion making the request.

Neal's attorney, Deputy Lancaster County Public Defender Chris Eickholt, declined to comment when reached Tuesday.

Lincoln police said on Jan. 2, 2012, a 16-year-old girl reported that Neal sexually assaulted her when she was 15.

Investigators searched a home and found DNA evidence that corroborated her account, according to court records.

Police arrested Neal in April, and prosecutors charged him with first-degree sexual assault and alleged he was a habitual criminal.

Neal pleaded not guilty, prompting a first trial Jan. 7. But Burns granted a defense request for a mistrial a day later when his accuser was on the stand.

A second trial started with a new jury Jan. 9, and ended in a mistrial on the second day with the second witness, the accuser's mother, on the stand.

On Feb. 7, the jury deadlocked at the end of a four-day trial after failing to reach a verdict after nine hours.

Neal had faced at least 10 years in prison if he was convicted.

Reach Lori Pilger at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com or follow her on Twitter at LJSpilger.