On Thursday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the rape and sexual assault convictions and a 263-year prison sentence of a former Oklahoma City police officer – Daniel Holtzclaw.
The court unanimously rejected appeals by Holtzclaw that include lack of evidence, excessive sentence, prosecutorial misconduct, a circus atmosphere” during his trial and a failure by the defense attorney to present an expert to offer an alternative explanation to how DNA of one victim showed up on Holtzclaw’s pants.
Prosecutors alleged Holtzclaw, 32, targeted black women and girls while on duty. He was convicted in 2015 on 18 charges involving seven women and one girl that occurred in 2013 and 2014. He was acquitted on similar charges involving five other women.
After his appeal was denied, lawyers representing some of the victims say the women now feel vindicated.
“We’re very, very thankful, our clients are very thankful that the criminal court of appeals in this fifty-two-page opinion made it very, very clear that he is exactly what our clients know he is, a convicted rapist,” said Damario Solomon-Simmons, one of the attorneys.
Holtzclaw has to serve at least 85% of his 263-year sentence before being eligible for parole consideration, according to the judgment.
The Holtzclaw family says they realize it could take years to prove Daniel’s innocence, but they plan to keep trying.
“We’re going to continue fighting for him and continue on to the next steps and never give up until Daniel is free,” Jenny Holtzclaw said.
The Holtzclaw family said its working to get post-conviction relief and take the case to the federal court system.
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