Cop Sobs in Court as He's Found Guilty of Raping Women While on Duty
A former Oklahoma cop sobbed in court on Thursday as he was found guilty of sexually assaulting eight women while on duty.
Daniel Holtzclaw, who was an officer in Oklahoma City, had been accused of sexual assault by 13 different women and on Thursday, he was found guilty on 18 out of 36 counts, including four counts of first-degree rape.
His father, who is a police officer, his mom and sister were all in court as the verdict was read. At least one accuser was also in the room, The Associated Press reported.
"Justice was done today, and a criminal wearing a uniform is going to prison now," Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said following the verdict. "In those counts where the not guilty verdicts came back, they determined that we didn't prove those cases beyond a reasonable doubt. It doesn't mean they didn't believe the victims."
Holtzclaw, who turned 29 on Thursday, could spend the rest of his life behind bars after the jury recommended a sentence of 263 years. He will be sentenced on January 21. His lawyer declined to comment after the verdict.
Prosecutors said Holtzclaw targeted women in a low-income, minority neighborhood. All of his victims were black.
Most of the women testified that Holtzclaw had stopped them while out on patrol, checked them for outstanding warrants or to see if they were carrying drug paraphernalia, and then sexually assaulted them.
One of his victims was just 17 when Holtzclaw saw her walking home last year. He drove her to her mother's house before saying he had to search her. She said he grabbed her breasts and then raped her in the home's porch. Her DNA was later found on his pants.
Another woman, who said she was prostituting herself when Holtzclaw approached her, testified that he followed her inside her home and raped her, saying: "This is better than county jail."
Holtzclaw pulled over another woman and accused her of drunk driving before ordering her to pull down her pants.
"There was nothing I could do," she testified. "He was a police officer. And I was a woman."
Another victim was a grandmother in her 50s, whom Holtzclaw forced to perform oral sex on him during a traffic stop. Her account launched the police investigation.
During the trial, Holtzclaw's attorney called him a model officer who was simply trying to help drug addicts and prostitutes. He also focused on how many of the women had arrest records or histories of drug abuse but ultimately, the jury did not believe the account.
He was found guilty of four counts of first-degree rape, one count of second-degree rape, six counts of sexual battery, four counts of forcible oral sodomy and three counts of procuring lewd exhibition.
Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said in a statement on Thursday: "We are satisfied with the jury's decision and firmly believe justice was served."