TAMPA - UPDATE 5/15 3:00 p.m. :
A jury has found Rashad Hales guilty of three counts of sexual battery and one count of burglary and assault.
ABC Action News Reporter John Thomas was in the courtroom when the verdict was read, see the full report at http://wfts.tv/12vKIEc .
Rashad Hales rolled his eyes just once in our direction Tuesday as opening statements and the first witness took the stand today in his rape trial. That first witness? The victim.
The victim would speak in a soft, but sure, voice as she described the December 2011 day that she says Rashad Hales forced his way into her home and attacked her. She would describe in detail how she was choked, beaten, strangled with a chord, and then raped. "He tells me to do what I do to my husband to satisfy him. And if he's not satisfied, he's going to kill me."
She would then describe how he would warn her that if she told anyone what had happened he, or some of his friends, would come back and kill her. She says he even took it further right before he left her home, "He also threatened to kill my family in front of me," she told the court, "and then torture me and then kill me."
The victim clearly identified Rashad Hales as her attacker.
Two other witnesses would also say Rashad told them he had raped the young woman. A security co-worker who helped hold Hales until deputies arrived would tell the court, Hales said to him, "I raped her and she liked it."
And then one of the deputies would say Hales, as he was sitting in back of a Sheriff's Office cruiser, said, "I know what I did. I raped that white lady because I haven't gotten any in a while."
The prosecution is expected to play a taped confession from Hales tomorrow and then wrap up their case. The defense will then present their case. Final arguments could go tomorrow as well.
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