Clay Conaway guilty, 4th degree rape
SUSSEX CO., Del. – Clay Conaway is guilty of fourth degree rape. After a lengthy trial, the jury came down with their verdict on Friday and the court room immediately filled with a range of emotions.
Once the verdict was handed down, Judge Richard Stokes revoked Conaway’s bond before he was handcuffed and then taken away in front of his family and his accuser.
“I just walked out of a family that is devastated, crying and practically rolling on the ground,” says Joe Hurley, one of Conaway’s attorneys.
After ten long days, Clay Conaway walked into the Sussex County Courthourse Friday, hoping to walk out a free man. But after three hours of deliberation, the jury handed down the verdict: Conaway is not guilty of 1st degree rape and instead is guilty of the lesser charge, 4th degree rape.
“I don’t criticize the jury at all. They reached a verdict and that’s the way the system works,” says Hurley.
The jury sifted through hundreds of pages of text messages, social media records phone call logs, video interviews even the victim’s clothing worn the night Conaway raped her. Ultimately, they found enough evidence to say, without a reasonable doubt, Conaway intentionally sexually penetrated his victim without consent.
Attorney General Kathy Jennings released a statement on the verdict, “The message today is no means no. I am grateful for the jury’s decision, for the work of our excellent trial team, for the investigative work of the Delaware State Police, and especially for the survivor of Mr. Conaway’s rape, who throughout this trial endured needless disrespect and insinuations about her integrity. Going through this kind of trial takes incredible strength, and I recognize the courage of the survivor for putting herself under a microscope to ensure that justice was served.”
“It depends how you define justice and I’m biased. To me if it was my kid, if it was his kid, I would say it’s unjust,” says Hurley.
Fourth degree rape is a class C felony in Delaware, meaning Clay Conaway faces a maximum of 15 years behind bars.
The defense tells 47 ABC they have one ground of appeal, claiming the prosecutor may have influenced the jury’s decision with a statement made during closing arguments.
Joe Hurley, one of Conaway’s attorneys, also tells 47 ABC there may be issues finding jurors for the other rape cases against Conaway because he believes the public may be biased after Friday’s outcome. Conaway is accused of sexually assaulting 5 other women. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.
To see coverage of day 9 of the trial: click here.