OKLAHOMA CITY – Lawyers were presenting closing arguments Monday in the case of a former Oklahoma City police officer accused of raping or sexually victimizing 13 women.
Daniel Holtzclaw is charged with 36 counts of rape, sexual battery and other charges that carry a possible sentence of life in prison.
Oklahoma County District Judge Tim Henderson spent a little over an hour Monday giving jurors instructions on the 36 counts. Closing arguments began later, and a jury could begin deliberating Monday.
During the monthlong trial, jurors heard from 13 women who alleged Holtzclaw preyed on them during traffic stops or in other instances while wearing his uniform and badge. Most of them said Holtzclaw stopped them while out on patrol, searched them for outstanding warrants or checked to see if they were carrying drug paraphernalia, then forced himself on them.
Holtzclaw, 28, was fired after his arrest last year. He didn't take the stand. His attorney attacked the credibility of the women and questioned why most didn't come forward until police identified them as possible victims. Several have drug addictions or criminal records.
The allegations against Holtzclaw brought new attention to the problem, something police chiefs have studied for years. The case was among those examined in an Associated Press investigation of sexual misconduct by law enforcement officers.
Holtzclaw's father and sister regularly sat behind him in the courtroom, as did other family members and friends. Also in the courtroom often were pastors and activists from the communities where the women live.