WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A jury convicted a 20-year-old man Friday of the gang rape and assault of a mother and her son during a home invasion two years ago.
The jury deliberated 5 1/2 hours before convicting Tommy Poindexter of rape, kidnapping, assault and burglary. He faces multiple life terms.
The jury also convicted a second defendant, Nathan Walker, 18, of gang rape and beating the woman and her son.
The two were tried together but with separate juries. A third defendant, Avion Lawson, 16, pleaded guilty and testified against Poindexter and Walker. A fourth defendant, now 17-year-old Jakaris Taylor, is set for trial next month.
The defendants made limited admissions to the attack, but also tried to deflect blame. Lawson claims he raped the woman once, then left soon after. Poindexter's attorney says her client raped the woman, but didn't participate in any other crimes. Walker's attorney hasn't acknowledged any guilt.
Authorities say fingerprints and DNA found on clothing and condoms inside the apartment identified the defendants. They are still seeking additional suspects.
The prosecutor told jurors that it doesn't matter how many of the crimes each defendant actually participated in — they are all equally responsible for the entire episode. Defense attorneys had argued the juries don't have to find guilt on all counts just because the suspects may have committed some of the crimes.
Earlier in the week, the female victim described for jurors the terrifying night of June 18, 2007, in her public housing complex apartment a few miles from downtown West Palm Beach.
She recounted how she prayed for her life and cried in pain as she was repeatedly raped and her son beaten by 10 masked, gun-toting teens. Then she testified about being forced to perform oral sex on her son. The victims were then doused with chemicals in an attempt to clean the crime scene.
Throughout the attack, the suspects demanded money, but she had none. The victims had fled even worse poverty in their native Haiti several years earlier, landing in the crime-plagued Dunbar Village housing complex where the attack occurred.