Assault trial goes to jury

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    By Peter Kranenburg

    The jury trial of two former BYU football players came to an end after the jury heard closing arguments and dismissed for deliberation Thursday.

    B.J Mathis and Ibrahim Rashada are on trial for allegedly raping a 17-year-old girl in Mathis? apartment last year.

    The defense rested this morning after only calling one witness. Tiffany Monson testified that she saw the victim and the victim?s cousin the night of the alleged assault when her husband responded to a call to remove boots from their vehicles at University Villa.

    Monson said she did not leave her vehicle during the time her husband was working on removing the boots. She said the two young women were ?very girly,? and nothing appeared out of the ordinary. Monson said the girls did not seem to be uncomfortable or upset.

    Before going to closing arguments, the judge granted the defense?s motion to dismiss count three of the indictment, dealing harmful material to a minor.

    Attorney Donna Kelly gave closing arguments for the prosecution. She told the jury that was a difficult case because of its graphic nature and made an appeal to their common sense when deliberating a verdict.

    The prosecution focused largely on the character and credibility of the defendants. Kelly discussed how the defendants had deliberately tried to cover up what they had done by thoroughly scrubbing down the apartment to remove fingerprints and lying to the BYU Honor Code office.

    ?[She] was a sheep among wolves,? said Kelly when addressing the defendants? character. ?Wolves go after sheep in packs. [They] went after an impaired sheep that night.?

    A point of debate throughout the trial has been how much alcohol the victim consumed before the alleged assault and whether or not she was impaired because of it. The defense has argued that the sexual incident that occurred was consensual.

    Attorney Dean Zabriskie gave closing arguments for the defense. His arguments focused on the discrepancies in the victims? testimony concerning the amount of alcohol she consumed.

    Zabriskie also focused on testimony offered by William Turner, a key witness for the prosecution. Although Turner plead guilty to forced sodomy, he testified in court that he did not force the victim to engage in any sexual act and it appeared that sexual acts engaged in with Mathis and Rashada were consensual as well.

    Turner pleaded guilty to the charge after a plea bargain was reached in which he would be tried as a minor.

    The jury will most likely reach a verdict Thursday night or Friday morning.

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