OKLAHOMA CITY — Jurors have returned to their deliberations in the case of a former Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually victimizing women.
The jury opened its fourth day of deliberations on Thursday, which is the 29th birthday of former police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who grew up in Enid and still has family ties in the community. He faces 36 counts of rape, sexual battery and other charges.
The eight-man, four-woman jury has been considering Holtzclaw's fate since Monday. Both the judge in the case and the lead prosecutor say it's the longest deliberation in any case in which they've been involved.
Holtzclaw faces up to life in prison if convicted of rape.
Jurors deliberated until about 11 p.m. Wednesday. After deliberations have ended each night, they have stayed in a hotel and have not been allowed to go home.
Oklahoma County District Judge Timothy Henderson declined Wednesday to elaborate on the nature of jurors’ questions while deliberations continue, but said such questions are not unusual.
“We’ve got a lot of instructions in this case,” Henderson said.
Henderson spent more than an hour on Monday giving jurors instructions on the 36 counts against Holtzclaw, which include rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy and indecent exposure.
The charges involve 13 women who accuse the officer of sexually victimizing them in the low-income neighborhoods he patrolled on the city’s northeast side.
Holtzclaw could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted on any of six first-degree rape charges. His attorneys want jurors to believe he was an honest police officer who may have violated department policies but didn’t commit any crimes. His accusers, they argue, were just the opposite — addicts, prostitutes and felons who fabricated stories about Holtzclaw.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, have painted Holtzclaw as a dishonest cop who used his power to prey on women. He selected victims with criminal histories, they said, and used his power to intimidate and bully them into silence.
The trial began Nov. 2.