On his 29th birthday Thursday evening, former Oklahoma City Police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw rocked back and forth in his chair, crying hysterically, as a jury found him guilty on a slew of charges relating to the rapes of black women — and suggested a sentence of over 250 years in prison.
Holtzclaw was arrested in August 2014, on four counts each of sexual battery, indecent exposure, and oral sodomy; two counts of rape; and one count each of burglary and stalking relating to the sexual assaults of eight black women while on duty.
Following his arrest, more women came forward, and he was standing trial for 36 counts relating to the sexual assaults of 12 women and a 17-year-old girl. Six of those charges were for first-degree rape.
The prosecution argued that Holtzclaw would threaten the women with jail if they refused to comply, and that the officer would prey on those who were vulnerable to arrest.
“He didn’t choose CEOs or soccer moms; he chose women he could count on not telling what he was doing,” the prosecution said in its closing statement.
His victims had all testified that they were afraid nobody would believe them due to his profession, the color of their skin, and their criminal pasts.
Details of his crimes include sexually assaulting a woman who was handcuffed to a hospital bed, and pulling down the shorts of the teenage girl as he frisked her, then informing her she had to either perform oral sex and have intercourse or go to jail.
“I didn’t think anyone would believe me,” one woman testified. “I’m a black female.”
After four days of deliberation, the jury found Holtzclaw guilty of 18 of the 36 charges he faced, including four counts of rape in the first degree and four counts of forced oral sodomy. They recommended he serve 263 years for his horrific crimes.
His sentencing is scheduled for next month.
“We’re going to ask the judge to make sure that this defendant never sees the light of day,” District Attorney David Prater told reporters. “And we’re going to ask him to run consecutive, every count.”
On Friday morning, two of his victims, Janie Liggins and Sharday Hill, spoke at a press conference, where they stated the verdict suggests there is “hope for our society.”
“In my mind, all I could think of was he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me,” one of the women told reporters. “I kept pleading, ‘Don’t make me do this, sir.’ All I could see was my life flashing before my eyes and the holster on his side,” she said.