Daniel Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City police officer accused of raping women while on duty, was found guilty on Thursday.
Mr. Holtzclaw was convicted on 18 of 36 counts of sexual assault in attacks on 13 women. Conviction on the charges comes with the possibility of a life sentence.
The former police officer worked the night shift on the northeast side of the city. In the trial, prosecutors said that from December 2013 to June 2014, Mr. Holtzclaw targeted women he stopped while on patrol, singling out poor, black victims with criminal backgrounds whose stories would not be believed.
“He didn’t choose C.E.O.s or soccer moms; he chose women he could count on not telling what he was doing,” the prosecutor, District Attorney Lori McConnell, said in closing arguments on Monday, according to a report by Reuters. “He counted on the fact no one would believe them and no one would care.”
Thirteen women testified in the five-week trial, describing sexual assaults that started with groping and progressed to forced oral sex and rape. Many said the officer had found them with drugs and told them he would not arrest them if they did as he said.
Prosecutors also presented evidence of DNA found near Mr. Holtzclaw’s pants zipper that matched the DNA of a 17-year-old girl who testified that Mr. Holtzclaw had raped her on her front porch.
Mr. Holtzclaw, who was arrested in August 2014 and fired from the Oklahoma City Police Department in January, declined to testify. Defense lawyers called only one witness, an ex-girlfriend who said Mr. Holtzclaw never made her feel uncomfortable.
KFOR-TV reported that the verdict came down on Mr. Holtzclaw’s 29th birthday, and the reporter covering the trial broadcast video on Twitter of victims’ supporters singing “Happy Birthday” to him.
The jury began deliberating Monday evening after testimony from more than 40 witnesses.