Jury deliberating in officer's sex assault trial

Woman says Officer Abraham Joseph raped her in park

HOUSTON - A jury finished their first day of deliberations Wednesday in the trial of a Houston police officer accused of raping a woman.

Abraham Joseph, 29, has been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault.

There was a delay in court Wednesday because the defense asked for a mistrial. There was a juror in the back of an elevator when an attorney asked the prosecutor who Joseph's attorney was. The prosecutor responded that it was a private attorney. Someone said that the union would have not represented Joseph if they knew he was guilty.

The juror told the attorneys that he did not know what was said, but asked them to stop talking about the case. The juror told the judge that he did not hear the conversation, so the motion for mistrial was denied. Closing arguments were then held and the jury began deliberating. They will resume deliberations on Thursday morning.

Police said Joseph kidnapped a waitress outside of El Diamante Nite Club, 3416 W. Fuqua, on Jan. 2, 2011, while he was on duty. Prosecutors said Joseph handcuffed her, drove her to a secluded section of Townwood Park, 3600 Simsbrook, and raped her.

She claimed Joseph was dressed in his uniform and armed when she was kidnapped.

Prosecutors said Joseph originally arrested the woman and a man in in the parking lot of the night club. The woman claims that Joseph dropped the man off on the side of the road, took her to the park and then raped her while she was still handcuffed.

Joseph's attorney claimed the sex was consensual.

Both sides made their final pushes to get the jury to see the case their way.

"Don't let this defendant step out of this courthouse with his freedom," prosecutor Eric Bily said. "To him, (his accuser) is just trash. She's disposable."

The defense said there are too many inconsistencies in the accuser's story. The defense attorney said the only thing Joseph is guilty of is cheating on his pregnant wife while working.

Prosecutors said that Joseph has been investigated as a potential suspect in five separate rape cases.

If convicted, Joseph could be sentenced to up to life in prison.

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