Former Oklahoma City officer gets 263 years for rape, sex assault

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Daniel Holtzclaw is accused of assaulting or raping 13 women, all black, while he was on the job.

OKLAHOMA CITY–A judge says a former police officer convicted of raping and sexually victimizing women over a six-month while on his beat in a low-income Oklahoma City neighborhood should spend the rest of his life in prison.

Jurors last month convicted 29-year-old Daniel Holtzclaw on four first-degree rape counts and 14 other charges, and recommended he spend 263 years in prison. The judge agreed Thursday and said Holtzclaw will serve those years consecutively, and rejected a request for a new trial that the defense made after arguing that prosecutors withheld evidence.

Holtzclaw was convicted of the 18 charges, but acquitted on 18 other charges. He rocked back and forth in his chair, sobbing, as the judge read the verdict, which arrived after 40 hours of jury deliberation. He was then under suicide watch for a time.

Prosecutors said Holtzclaw, who is half-white and half-Japanese, targeted black women while on patrol. Holtzclaw’s lawyer said prostitutes and drug abusers misconstrued his efforts to help, and that many came forward only after police said an investigation showed that they might be victims. Prosecutors said he targeted them because he didn’t think their testimony against him would be valued.

During the trial 13 victims testified. One victim said Holtzclaw raped her while she was handcuffed to a hospital bed, and another woman, who was 17 at the time, said she was raped on her mother’s front porch. A third, who is a grandmother, said she was forced to do things after Holtzclaw pulled her over, and she later had a stroke.

Police said the first assault was during a traffic stop in June 2014, and Holtzclaw was fired in January 2015 after an internal police investigation.

“Your offenses committed against women in our community constitute the greatest abuse of police authority I have witnessed in my 37 years as a member of this agency,” Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty wrote in the termination letter, according to CNN affiliate KFOR.

Many of his accusers were in court for the sentencing, and at least one read a victim’s statement.

Holtzclaw’s father, a police officer from Enid, Oklahoma, also was in the courtroom.

Defense attorney Scott Adams says Holtzclaw will appeal.

With additional reporting by CNN.