The guilty verdict of Oklahoma City officer Daniel Holtzclaw rendered emotional responses from the victims and their supporters Thursday evening.
Business Insider reports a group of Holtzclaw’s victims ironically sang “Happy Birthday” to the 29-year-old after a judge found him guilty on 18 of 36 counts, including rape and sodomy. The jury’s decision was delivered on the former cop’s birthday.
Over ten women testified terrifying and similar accounts of rape and assault at the hands of Holtzclaw, claiming he used his authority to blackmail them into keeping quiet about the assaults. The victims ranged from 17 to 57 years of age.
Holtzclaw’s attorneys were also slammed for discrediting some of the victims due to their battles with addiction and prostitution. To keep his victims silent, the former college football player ran background checks on the women and preyed upon those who had outstanding warrants, Business Insider reports.
While many felt justice was served, a victim’s mother, Latonya James, expressed her fear that Holtzclaw’s attorneys will try to find a loophole during sentencing, which is set for January. He could face life in prison.
“I’m sure that they’re going to run it together, so he won’t see nothing but 30 years, and that’s not fair to us. It’s not fair to my daughter. It’s not fair to any of the victims or the people of our community,” said Latonya James, a victim’s mother.
Others were joyous as they prayed for the victims.
“This is what we waited patiently for – knowing that the outcome would be this,” said Robin Leake, a supporter of the victims. “I mean the years. You might as well say ‘life.’ You know with what he was given, the number of years he was given.”
Prosecutors plan to ask the judge to allow Holtzclaw to serve his potential 263 years in jail consecutively. While leaving the courtroom, Holtzclaw told his family, “I didn’t do it.”