Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was found guilty late Monday night on charges that he raped a beauty pageant contestant in his hotel room.
An eight-man, four-woman jury, after deliberating approximately 9 1/2 hours, delivered their verdicts to Marion County Superior Court Judge Patricia J. Gifford, who read them to a hushed courtroom at 10:55 p.m. EST.
Tyson, 25, showed little emotion in the courtroom but seemed dazed as he left the building moments later.
He was found guilty of all the charges he faced--one count of rape and two counts of criminal deviate conduct--and could receive a maximum prison sentence of 60 years.
Gifford asked Tyson to surrender his passport but allowed him to be free on his original bond of $30,000. She also required him to be at the probation department this morning for pre-sentencing investigation. She set sentencing for March 6.
Tyson was indicted last September after an 18-year-old Rhode Island woman, a contestant in the Miss Black America pageant here last July, told police Tyson lured her to his hotel room and assaulted her.
After Gifford read the jury's verdicts, chief prosecutor J. Gregory Garrison asked her to revoke Tyson's bail "given the severity of the crimes."
Tyson's chief attorney, Vincent J. Fuller, pleaded with Gifford to allow Tyson to remain free. He also asked the judge to poll the jurors, and one by one they said that they believed Tyson was guilty.
The conviction came on the 13th day of the highly publicized trial, during which Tyson's $5,000-a-day legal team sought to portray his accuser as a woman who had designs on Tyson's wealth and who consented to have sex with him on the morning of July 19 in his Indianapolis hotel room.
The prosecutors, principally Garrison and county prosecutor Barbara Trathen, said afterward that their best weapon was the victim herself, a college freshman.
"She stuck to her beliefs throughout a very tough trial, never lost faith, and her courage is a great victory, a great example for rape victims across America," Garrison said. "We showed the system works. But I'd have said that if we'd lost, too."
Tyson's accuser was not in the courtroom when the verdicts were returned, but she had been in court during closing arguments.
Both Garrison and Trathen said there would be no celebrations.
"When a verdict like that comes down, it's a very sad thing--a young man faces a very uncertain future," Garrison said. "It's never fun, not at that moment. We'll pop no champagne corks."
Asked why he requested Tyson's bail be revoked, Garrison said he considered Tyson a flight risk.
"You're talking about a very mobile young man with a lot of resources," he said.
At the reading of the first guilty verdict, Tyson showed no emotion, but he slowly leaned his head on Fuller's shoulder while the attorney placed his arm around the boxer.
Late Monday night, it seemed as if the jury would carry deliberations over to today. But when Gifford directed the bailiff to tell the jurors they could return to their hotel at 10 p.m., the bailiff reported back that the jury had asked to be allowed another hour to deliberate.
"We looked at not only at a moment in the bedroom but a chain of events that evening," the jury foreman said. The jurors would not give their names during a news conference.
One juror said that Monday morning's closing arguments had little to do with their verdicts.
Besides the accuser, crucial prosecution witnesses included an emergency room doctor who said the woman suffered injuries consistent with rape, and a chauffeur who said the woman appeared scared and shaken when she emerged from Tyson's hotel.
Ten pageant contestants testified for the defense, which sought to portray Tyson as lewd and obsessed with sex. Many described Tyson's use of crude, sexually explicit language.
Some also said they heard the accuser make comments about his body, intellect and net worth, bolstering a defense argument that she was a gold digger who concocted a story of rape out of anger over being treated as a one-night stand.
Others told a version of events closer to that of the accuser, who said she never heard the lewd remarks and never made any suggestive remarks herself.
Race became an issue in the trial, with defense attorneys arguing that the jury pool failed to represent Marion County's racial make-up, which is about 22% black.
Three of the 12 jurors chosen were black, but one of them asked to be excused after a fire midway through the trial at the hotel where the panel was sequestered. All the jurors escaped unharmed.
One black juror, a 39-year-old insurance underwriter, said she and the other black juror never felt any special pressure.
"It's not a question of color," she said.
Investigators said the fire, which killed two firefighters and a hotel guest, was believed to have started in a refrigerator. However, security was tightened outside the courtroom and at the jurors' new hotel.
Tyson's fans gathered at the courthouse each day to show their support for the man who in 1986--at age 20--became boxing's youngest heavyweight champion.
Tyson, born and reared in Brooklyn, N.Y., burst upon the boxing scene as a 17-year-old in the summer of 1984, when he nearly made the U.S. Olympic team. He turned professional in 1985 and won the first of his three world heavyweight championships in 1986.
Until he lost his title to Buster Douglas, a 43-1 long shot, in Tokyo, Tyson had won 36 consecutive professional fights. He is one of America's highest-paid athletes, having grossed $50 million in 1988 alone. His conviction erases, perhaps forever, any hope he had of regaining the title against current champion Evander Holyfield. Tyson and Holyfield were scheduled to fight last November, but the bout was canceled because of Tyson's rib injury and was not rescheduled before Tyson's trial began on Jan. 27.
Tyson was steered into the ring by a gruff, older trainer, Cus D'Amato.
D'Amato died in 1985, when Tyson was 19 and well on his way to boxing stardom. There was a storybook quality to his career then, but the story began to turn tawdry later, starting with Tyson's stormy eight-month marriage to actress Robin Givens in 1988.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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