Suspended Oklahoma State basketball player Darrell Williams was convicted of sexual battery and rape by instrumentation Monday night. He was acquitted on two other charges.
The jurors deliberated for eight hours and recommended that Williams be sentenced to a year in prison for each of the rape counts. His formal sentencing hearing is set for August 24.
22-year-old Williams was accused of sexually assaulting two women at a Stillwater house party in December 2010. Payne County prosecutors accused him of groping the two women and reaching inside their pants without their consent, but they had little physical evidence to back their accusations and had to rely on the women’s testimony.
Williams’ defense attorney Cheryl Ramsey said no one at the party had either of the women scream or saw any struggle or sign of anything inappropriate. Neither of the women sustained any cuts or scratches and none of their clothing was torn. Ramsey called the case a “he said, she said situation.”
Defense attorneys also tried to cast doubt as to Williams’ guilt. Witnesses from the party testified that several Cowboys players wore similar warm-up outfits, which might have led the two women to misidentify Williams as their attacker when shown a picture of the basketball team.
Darrell Williams broke down into tears when the verdict was read, banging his hands on the defense table and saying, “Oh my Jesus God” and yelling at the jury “I didn’t do it.” Assistant District Attorney Jill Tontz said she felt intimidated by the outburst and moved to the other side of the prosecutor’s table, crying against a sheriff’s deputy.
In her closing arguments, Tontz said,
“‘No’ means just that: It means `no.’ “These girls felt dehumanized, embarrassed.”
Ramsey said she was “very disappointed” with the verdicts and asked the judge that Williams be released until his sentencing, but the judge refused because of Williams’ outburst. Williams’ coaches and teammates left the courtroom quietly after the verdict was read, and a female relative was escorted out when Williams was taken away by sheriff’s deputies.
Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford testified on the young player’s behalf, and said he believes Darrell Williams is innocent, but declined to comment after Monday’s verdict.