Jury deliberating in rape trial of former Houston police officer
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A jury has begun deliberations in the rape trial of former HPD Officer Abraham Joseph.
Jurors were handed all the evidence Wednesday. Now the decision is in their hands, and in the hours they spent deliberating before getting dismissed for the day, they asked for clarification on one question and asked to see five pieces of evidence.
Joseph is accused of raping a cantina waitress while on duty last year. Both sides rested on Tuesday and Joseph decided not to take the stand. Prosecutors minced no words.
"He was a cop, and he is and always will be a rapist," prosecutor Heyward Carter said.
This has been an extremely emotional trial from the beginning, including several outbursts and plenty of delays with attorneys arguing with each other. The judge also had a family emergency during the trial.
Joseph's defense team called for a mistrial this morning. The attorney said that one of the prosecutors was talking about the case and implying that Joseph was guilty in an elevator in which a juror was also riding this morning.
The prosecutor said, "Yes, he had discussed the case in that elevator." He said never saw the juror.
That juror was brought out in front of the court and she said, "He was next to me and all I could tell is that he was talking and I said, 'Shhh' because it was noisy."
The judge then asked, "You didn't hear anything?"
The juror replied, "Nothing. No, it was full."
The judge denied the request for a mistrial, and Joseph's attorney tried to poke holes in the prosecutors' story.
"On the inside door handle latch of Abraham Joseph's patrol car was the thumb and index finger, and yet she says she was cuffed behind her back the entire time," defense attorney Nicole Deborde said.
The jury is considering three different types of charges: aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, or improper sexual activity with someone in custody. If Joseph is found guilty, he could face up to 99 years in prison, depending on the charge.
Deliberations will resume Thursday at 9am.
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