NEW YORK, AUG. 18 -- In a case that has become a national symbol of urban violence and racial tension, three Harlem teenagers were convicted tonight of raping and brutally beating a jogger out for her nightly run in Central Park last year.
After 10 tense days of deliberations, a Manhattan Supreme Court jury acquitted Raymond Santana, 15, Yusef Salaam, 16, and Antron McCray, 16, of sodomy and of attempted murder, the most serious crime, but convicted them of every other significant charge, including the rape and assault of the jogger, riot, robbery and assaults on several other people in the park on April 19, 1989.
"The presumption of innocence no longer applies here," said Judge Thomas B. Galligan after the verdicts were read. Family members of the defendants in the packed courtroom began weeping as Galligan ordered all three taken into custody.
After repeatedly viewing the two harrowing videotaped confessions that were the prosecution's only real evidence, the jury of 10 men and two women reached identical verdicts for all three youths. Although all were tried as adults, they will be sentenced as juveniles on Sept. 11. The most severe penalty any could receive would be 10 years in prison. Their lawyers said tonight that they would appeal the verdicts.
The "wilding incident" drew instant attention because of its stark brutality and because videotaped confessions obtained from two of the defendants described a terrifying night on which dozens of teenagers rampaged through the park, hoping, in the words of one of them, "to beat people up and rob them."
It also reflected, and to some degree caused, increased racial tensions in the nation's largest city because the victim was a privileged white woman whose life until that night seemed edged in gold, while the assailants were all black and Hispanic youths with questionable prospects for the future.
Despite the racially tense nature of the crime and the trial, jurors said tonight that they were never split along lines of race or sex.
"From the beginning, I have insisted this was not a racial case," said Manahattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau at a news conference held after the verdict was announced. "This city is ill-served by those who have sought to exploit and to divide the races and advance their own private agendas."
The defendants were part of a group of 30 teenagers that stormed through the park on the night of April 19, 1989, randomly attacking a homeless man, a male jogger and a bicyclist before encountering the 29-year-old woman.
Three other youths, Kevin Richardson, 15, Kharey Wise, 17, and Steven Lopez, 16, have been indicted for the crimes and are scheduled to go on trial here next month.
Two of the jurors, speaking to assembled reporters, said they did not believe the three defendants actually committed the rape themselves, but the judge had made it clear in his instructions that a conviction was required if the jury decided the defendants had helped others rape the jogger.
The jurors appeared to rely heavily on the videotapes, and they largely discounted the dramatic appearance of the jogger herself.
"She really added little to the case," said Charles Nestorick, 36, one of the jurors. "Her testimony couldn't guide us."
Defense attorneys asserted throughout the trial that police rounded up their clients out of blind vengeance and the desire to punish someone for a grisly crime. Supporters of the defendants said they were guilty only of being in the park on the night of the crime and were immediately seized as criminals because they were black or Hispanic.
The prosecutor, Elizabeth Lederer, bolstered by the videotaped confessions of Santana and McCray, described for jurors a hellish scene in which, out of boredom and disaffection, a gang of youths set upon the park to harm anyone in their way.
On the videotape, the defendants described attacking the jogger, raping her and hitting her repeatedly with bricks and a metal pipe, because, as one of the teenagers told police, "It was fun."
Like Kitty Genovese, murdered here in 1964 while 38 witnesses did nothing, the jogger has become one of the nation's most famous victims, touching tense chords of sexual violence and racial fear.
About the only thing that most people do not know about the jogger is her name. Although it was used repeatedly throughout seven weeks of testimony, only two or three news organizations published it.
The rest of her life, from her Roman Catholic childhood in Upper St. Clair, Pa., to her Phi Beta Kappa key at Wellesley College, her master's degree from Yale University and her job in the corporate-finance department at Salomon Brothers here, has been made public.
So have the most intimate details of her sexual life. No physical evidence, including blood, semen, DNA samples and hair, was found to link the defendants to the crime, and defense lawyers portrayed their clients as confused youngsters forced to make questionable confessions under duress and through police intimidation.
During testimony and again in closing arguments, defense lawyers pointed out that the only semen identified on the jogger the night of the attack was that of her boyfriend.
The jogger, walking haltingly after what doctors described as a miraculous recovery, testified largely to present the jury with an emotional reminder of the severity of a crime that left her very near death as she lost most of her blood and lay twitching in a deserted ravine.
But she was also forced to tell the jury that she had sex with her boyfriend several days before the attack and that she then had gone running in the same tights on which semen was later found. After 15 minutes of dramatic testimony but not cross-examination, she walked slowly from the stand and never returned to court.
The only defendant who testified was Salaam, who otherwise sat silently during the trial, clutching a tattered green copy of the Koran. Lawyers for the other defendants had tried desperately to talk his attorney, Robert Burns, out of putting him on the stand.
Tonight, jurors said his testimony seriously hurt his chances of acquittal. Special correspondent John E. de Santis contributed to this report.