Jurors Reach Partial Verdict In NYPD Officer Michael Pena’s Rape Trial
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jurors deciding the fate of NYPD Officer Michael Pena reached a partial verdict, finding him guilty on several charges, but continue to be at an impasse on others.
The jury of eight men and four women found the 28-year-old Pena guilty of three counts of predatory sex assault, for possessing a weapon, and three counts of criminal sex acts involving “touching.”
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa With More Details From The Trial
The jury was deadlocked on 2 counts of rape in the first degree. The judge has ordered the jury to continue deliberating the rape counts when they return on Wednesday.
Pena’s lawyer said a note from the jury indicated they were bitterly divided.
“They indicated there’s a lot of division and rancor. It’s become very personal in certain cases. There are arguments going on the in the jury room that are more than just academic,” said Ephraim Savitt, Pena’s attorney.
The victim hid her tear-streaked face in a huddle of family and friends as she left the courtroom, clearly upset after hearing the partial verdict. She had testified Pena forced her at gunpoint off an Inwood street last August and raped her.
Authorities said on Aug. 19, 2011, a drunken Pena stopped to ask the schoolteacher 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 at gunpoint, 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.
On Monday, jurors said they’d reached a verdict on several of the other sex-attack charges. His lawyer admitted there was a sex assault but said a lack of DNA evidence indicated there was no actual rape, no penetration.
Savitt said his client is ashamed and knows he’s going to prison.
“He’s been remorseful from the very first moment his head cleared and he realized what a terrible thing he did,” he said.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports
The NYPD suspended Pena when he was charged. With this partial conviction he’ll now be fired. Judge Richard Carruthers told jurors to continue deliberating on the outstanding charges.
One juror questioned juror Lloyd Constantine’s ability to decide fairly in the case.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported Constantine is an attorney who works in a firm with a man who ran unsuccessfully against current district attorney Cy Vance.
Constantine was also a top adviser to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and wrote a book about his downfall. Constantine told the judge that his position has not been affecting his deliberations in the case.
Pena could face life in prison.
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