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A Lancaster County jury has found a 24-year-old man not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in her car in downtown Lincoln after bar close in November.

When the verdict came Thursday at the end of a three-day trial, Luis Flores Villegas was released from jail, where he'd been since Nov. 15.

District Judge Jodi Nelson dismissed the case.

In opening statements earlier in the week, the state alleged Villegas, of Lincoln, was blinded by lust early Nov. 13 and didn't stop when a 21-year-old woman tried to put an end to what started as consensual kissing and touching in her parked car.

"She had a right to say no, and she did say no," Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Dan Packard said.

Defense attorney Chad Wythers said the woman kissed Villegas outside the Brass Rail after drinking with him and a group of others and was a willing participant in what happened.

"When she said no, he stopped. That's it," he said.

On the stand, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln student said she tried to stop Villegas by saying she wanted to get to a party and that they could do it another time and by pushing him against the steering wheel.

She said that she said no with her body language and verbally, but it didn't come out as sternly as she wanted.

"When it turned from being a friendly foreplay into an aggressive sexual contact, I was not OK with it," she said.

It finally ended when she said "Luis ... stop it," and was able to shove him off and get out of the car. She said she got out of the car to go to the bathroom, and when she returned, Villegas was gone.

If convicted, he would have faced up to 50 years in prison.

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

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Reporter

Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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