One day after Daniel Holtzclaw was convicted of several sex crimes, including rape, two of the 13 women who said they were victimized by him discussed their violent encounters with the former Oklahoma City police officer.
“I was out there alone and helpless, didn’t know what to do,” Jannie Ligons told reporters in Oklahoma, as she recounted what happened after a traffic stop with Holtzclaw. “And in my mind, all I could think was that he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me.”
Holtzclaw on Thursday was found guilty of 18 of the 36 counts he was facing — including four separate counts of first-degree rape. The verdicts came down on Holtzclaw’s 29th birthday; he sobbed in court as they were read and now faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.
At Friday’s news conference, Ligons told reporters that she was “violated” after she was pulled over “for no reason whatsoever.” Holtzclaw, she said, “fondled” her and “did certain things to me.” He also forced her to perform oral sex, she said.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Ligons said. “I was so afraid. I was afraid for my life. I kept begging him, ‘Sir please don’t make me do this. Don’t make me do this, sir. Please. You’re going to shoot me.'”
Another victim, Shardayreon “Sharday” Hill, told reporters that she was handcuffed to hospital bed when Holtzclaw “started to manipulate me.”
“I was speechless, I was scared,” Hill said. “When everything was going down — I just, I felt — I mean, I was scared, I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was in survival mode, so I had to do what he was making me do.”
— Tom George (@TheTomGeorge) December 11, 2015
Holtzclaw was accused using his position and power to target vulnerable women in a low-income neighborhood. He is expected to be sentenced next month.
Here’s how the Oklahoman described the allegations against him after his arrest in August 2014:
Holtzclaw is accused of stopping women — some as they walked through neighborhoods — and threatening them with arrest. Holtzclaw reportedly forced women to expose themselves, fondled the women, forced four of them to perform oral sex on him and had intercourse with at least two of the women, court records show.
All 13 of the women who testified against him were African American. Holtzclaw was characterized in court records as “Asian or Pacific Islander,” the Oklahoman reported, while an all-white jury heard the case.
The Associated Press, which had highlighted the case in an investigation about sexual misconduct in law enforcement, reported that of the 13 women who had accused Holtzclaw, he was convicted of offenses involving eight of them.
Holtzclaw didn’t take the stand in his defense. The women who testified, however, told the jury stories of background checks, or searches during the encounters. They included a teenager who testified that she had been raped on the front porch of her mother’s house, and a woman who said Holtzclaw left his gun belt on during the assault.
“I didn’t do it,” Holtzclaw said before he was led out of the courtroom Thursday, Reuters reported.
His defense attorney did not immediately return a telephone message from The Post on Friday.
Holtzclaw was fired by the Oklahoma City Police Department in January, after the allegations emerged.
“We are satisfied with the jury’s decision and firmly believe justice was served,” the department said in a statement Thursday.
The AP reported that the mother of one of Holtzclaw’s accusers clapped as the verdicts were read.
According to the Oklahoman, some people who had gathered at the courthouse sang “Happy Birthday” after the verdicts were read:
Outside the courtroom, a prayer circle formed. “Thank you for justice, Heavenly Father,” one woman said.
After the prayer circle, two women began singing the “Happy Birthday” song.
“Happy birthday, dear Daniel. Happy birthday, to you!” they sang.