By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Defendant Raymond Bates sat between his lawyers Tuesday, holding his head in his hands as each verdict for each of the 11 charges he faced were read one by one. As the verdict on the final count was read, he broke into a quiet sob.
The Cleveland County jury, who deliberated for about three hours, found Bates not guilty on all 11 counts, including four counts of first-degree rape and seven counts of lewd acts to children.
“Thank you,” Bates mouthed to the jury, nodding toward them after the verdict was read.
After the courtroom was cleared, Bates’ mother sat waiting in the hallway for her son’s defense attorney, Sam Talley. As Talley exited the courtroom, they embraced and tears welled up in both of their eyes.
“Thank you so much. I can’t thank you enough. I never thought I’d see him again,” Bates’ mother said during the embrace.
Talley said Bates plans to return to Ohio, where he is from, with his mother.
During Bates’ testimony Monday, Bates said he believed the girls involved in the case accused him of the crimes because they were upset with him.
He had been living with the girls and his girlfriend at the time at their home in Moore. After Bates and his girlfriend broke up, he continued to live at the home and he said they wanted him out of the house.
Bates said he believed the girls said the things they did because they wanted him gone.
With no job and no money, he continued to live at the home, pretty much locking himself up in the house, he said. He moved back home to Ohio after his sister purchased a bus ticket for him because he had received physical threats to get out of the house, he said.
Bates said he didn’t know anything about the allegations when he left for Ohio.
During closing arguments Tuesday morning, Assistant District Attorney Kim Conyers asked the jury to weigh the credibility of Bates’ testimony and the evidence presented over the course of the trial.
Conyers said the victim was 12 at the time of the alleged crimes. She asked the jury to consider if a 12-year-old child is sophisticated enough to maintain the details of a lie two years after the incidents.
“(The victim) has no reason to lie to you,” she said. “The man who hid in the attic and went to Ohio two days later, he’s the one with reason to lie.”
Conyers said Bates left Oklahoma — leaving behind his belongings and all of his tools — and did not come back to Oklahoma but was brought back.
“It boils down to this, either you believe this child or you don’t,” Conyers said.
Talley said he believed the jury did a great job in determining the verdict Tuesday.
“I think the jury did their job to the letter of the law,” he said. “They didn’t get caught up in the emotion of having children involved in the case and they demonstrated an unbelievable ability to determine right from wrong.”
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn did not return a call to The Transcript to comment on the outcome of the jury trial.
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