The fate of a former Houston police officer charged with rape is in the hands of the jury.
The jury has been deliberating since 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The morning started with the defense asking for a mistrial after a juror was in the elevator when one of the prosecutors was asked if Abraham Joseph was represented by a police union attorney. The prosecutor answered, "No, they're cut loose when they're guilty." The judge continued with closing arguments when the juror said she didn't hear the statement in the noisy, crowded elevator.
"He was a cop, and he is and always will be a rapist," prosecutor Heyward Carter said in closing.
Both sides gave strong closing arguments.
"Find Abraham Joseph not guilty," defense attorney Nicole DeBorde told jurors.
Deborde also said Joseph's accuser would say anything to get what she wants and stay in the country legally.
"Somehow that woman masterminds this entire plan to entrap this poor officer here. He wants nothing more than to cheat on his wife, his pregnant wife," Carter said.
"You may be thinking I'm pretty angry with what I learned. We never contested he had sex with someone who was not his wife while he was supposed to be doing his job. That's disgusting. He hasn't committed the crime the court has charged him with," DeBorde insisted.
In January 2011, HPD Officer Abraham Joseph handcuffed and arrested a waitress and another man and drove them away from the cantina where she worked, investigators said. Surveillance pictures show Joseph letting the man out at a gas station. The woman said she was then driven to a nearby park at 3 a.m. and repeatedly raped by Joseph.
He's since been fired from the department.
"He took her pride. Today is the day you give it back to her," Carter told jurors.
"He had sex with someone who was not his wife while she was home pregnant. He has destroyed his reputation. He has totally and completely and finally destroyed his career," DeBorde argued.
While the defense tried to paint a picture of a woman who's a liar instead of a victim, prosecutors pointed out how another woman also testified she too was raped by Joseph. He allegedly told that woman, who had outstanding warrants, he would take her to jail unless she had sex with him. She says she was raped by Joseph twice. She even testified she was pregnant with Joseph's baby and had an abortion. Her medical records backed up the abortion but obviously could not confirm the father. Joseph allegedly targeted women in the country illegally. "These Hispanic women they're trash to him. They don't even belong. He can rape them and dispose of them and they wouldn't dare tell. He's a Houston police officer," prosecutor Eric Bily told jurors.
Jurors can find Joseph guilty of aggravated sexual assault by a public servant, a lesser charge of sexual assault, an even lower charge of improper sexual activity with a person in custody or they can find him not guilty.
"There's been a breach of trust. Not by the 99.9% of our Houston police officers but by this rapist. Take him out of our society and put him where he belongs," Bily asked the jurors. Once in deliberation jurors asked for several pieces of evidence including the definition of "exhibit a deadly weapon", the victim's medical records, fingerprint cards and photos of her alleged injuries as well as the GPS data for Joseph's patrol car the day of the alleged rape.