NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A jury is struggling to decide whether an off-duty New York City police officer who admitted sexually attacking a woman also raped her.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports
Jurors said Monday they were stuck on the rape and some other charges against Michael Pena. They say they’ve reached a verdict on other charges, including three counts of predatory sexual assault. That’s the top charge and is punishable by up to life in prison.
They did not announce a partial verdict.
Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers told the jurors to continue deliberating.
Authorities said on Aug. 19, 2011, a drunken Pena stopped to ask the woman for directions to the subway. When the woman refused, he allegedly opened his jacket to display a handgun and told the woman “you’re coming with me.”
Pena, who was coming off an overnight shift, allegedly forced the woman to the courtyard of a building on 217th Street and raped her, said authorities. Police said a resident of the building noticed something happening and called 911.
Pena was arrested by arriving officers who later found his police badge and gun.
The defense, for its part, argued that Pena did a terrible, unforgivable thing, but that technically it wasn’t a rape. Defense attorney Ephraim Savitt said there would have been more DNA found it it were a rape.
The jurors said they don’t think further deliberations would help them reach a complete verdict in the case, but the judge sent back anyway to keep trying.
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