HOUSTON — A jury began considering the fate Wednesday of accused rapist and former Houston Police Officer Abraham Joseph.
After deliberating all afternoon, jurors called it a day. They will resume deliberations Thursday morning.
In closing arguments Wednesday morning, prosecutor Heyward Carter said Joseph "was a cop and he is and always will be a rapist."
The alleged victim wiped tears from her eyes as the prosecutor displayed the officers’ gun, his gun belt and his handcuffs to the jury
"Without this gun and this badge, he’s just a coward," said Carter. "This is what makes him a rapist. This is what gives him the stones to rape."
The immigrant from El Salvador claims Joseph arrested and handcuffed her, and then drove to a city park late at night. She said she was raped and forced to perform sex acts on the officer.
The waitress testified that Joseph often harassed waitresses and patrons at the southeast Houston restaurant and bar where she worked.
Defense attorneys admit the officer had sex with the woman back in January of 2011, but they say it was consensual. They cross-examined the alleged victim for three days as they tried to prove that her story cannot be trusted.
"There is a lot wrong with what Abraham Joseph did," admitted defense attorney Nicole DeBorde in her closing statement. "It is not OK to be on the clock, fooling around on your wife. Totally unacceptable. But whether you dislike Abraham Joseph has nothing to do with is presumption of innocence and the state’s burden of proof."
DeBorde tried to convince the jury that the sexual encounter was part of a larger scheme by an illegal immigrant to obtain a legal visa to stay in this country as the victim of a crime.
"[The accuser] will say anything to anyone to get what she thinks she wants," DeBorde said.
The accuser also has a pending civil suit against Joseph and the Houston Police Department.
During the trial prosecutors also presented another woman who testified that the officer also sexually assaulted her, using the threat of deportation to make her submit.
"They’re trash to him. They’re trash, they don’t even belong," prosecutor Eric Bily said to the jury during closing arguments. "He can rape them and dispose of them and they wouldn’t dare tell. He’s a Houston police officer."
Prosecutors asked the jury to find Joseph guilty of aggravated sexual assault by a public servant
"Have you had enough? Have you seen enough? Have you heard enough? Were you disgusted enough? I hope so. I hope you’re mad. I hope you’re really mad," Bily said.
The jury is also allowed to consider a lesser offense of improper sexual activity with a person in custody, a charge that includes the presumption of consent.