New York News
Jury ordered to keep deliberating in Michael Pena case
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The jury appears unable to agree on whether suspended NYPD Officer Michael Pena raped a school teacher last August in Inwood.
A note sent to the judge in criminal court indicated that they had reached a unanimous verdict on six counts against Pena, but were at an impasse on the other 4. The judge ordered the jury to continue deliberating.
"He's doing what he's supposed to do. I know that the prosecution wanted to have a partial verdict because they're reading the tea leaves that it favors them," defense attorney Ephraim Savitt said.
Savitt has admitted in court that his client did sexually assault the victim, but insists no rape occurred. The specific charges against Pena include two counts of rape in the first degree, three counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree and 5 counts of predatory sexual assault.
"I'm not here to predict which way it's gonna go because I know one thing, I'm not a a profit, I'm a lawyer. And I make certain arguments to help my client and if the jury at least considers those arguments than I feel that I've done what I had to do to protect my client," Savitt said.
Authorities allege Pena approached the woman at about 6 a.m. on Aug. 19 in upper Manhattan's Inwood neighborhood and asked her how to get to a subway stop. They say he then grabbed her, showed her his gun, ushered her several blocks to an apartment building backyard and raped her.
A resident of the building called 911, saying she saw from her window that something was amiss in the yard.
When officers arrived, the teacher ran to them and warned them Pena was armed, police said. Officers didn't realize Pena was a colleague until they found his police ID upon arresting him, they said.
Pena joined the New York Police Department in 2008. He has been suspended without pay and is being held at the Rikers Island jail on $500,000 bail.
Pena's case is the second rape trial involving city police officers in the last year. In May, a jury acquitted Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata of raping a woman but found them guilty of official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
The two were called to help the drunken woman get out of a cab in December 2008. The woman said she passed out and awoke to being raped.
Moreno said he cuddled with her in her bed but there was no sex. Mata said he was napping on her sofa.
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