College Basketball Player Convicted of Rape: Cries in the Courtroom
Suspended Oklahoma State University basketball player Darrell Williams was found guilty of sexual battery and rape by instrumentation Monday, though he was acquitted of two additional rape charges.
Williams broke down in tears as the verdict was read, saying “Oh my Jesus God” before turning to protest his innocence to the jury. The jurors, who met for approximately eight hours, recommended a sentence of one year in prison for each of the two remaining rape counts. Williams will be sentenced formally on August 24.
The athlete was accused of groping two women and reaching inside their pants without their permission during a house party in December 2010. One reported being dragged out into the yard against her will, saying the incident happened in the house’s basement. With little physical evidence to back up the claims, Assistant District Attorney Jill Tontz relied primarily on testimony from the alleged victims.
“’No’ means just that: it means ‘no’,” Tontz told the jury in her closing argument, further contending that “these girls felt dehumanized, embarrassed.”
The girls identified Williams after being shown an OSU basketball team photo. His defense had attempted to cast doubt as to whether he was really the person responsible, noting that several attendees were wearing similar Cowboys warm-up suits and that a case of mistaken identity was possible. Additionally, no screams were heard or struggles seen by anyone else, nor were the girls scratched or their clothes torn. Defense attorney Cheryl Ramsey called it a “he said, she said situation” in her closing argument.
Ramsey told CBS News she was “very disappointed” in the outcome of the case. She asked the judge to release Williams prior to sentencing but, noting his outburst, her request was denied.