Ex-cop convicted of rape sentenced to life

October 8, 2012 9:01:13 AM PDT
A Harris County jury is deliberating the punishment for a former officer convicted of rape. The one person who may be able to spare Abraham Joseph from a life sentence took the stand on Friday.

The ex-Houston police officer convicted Thursday of sexually assaulting a cantina waitress couldn't stop the tears from flowing on Friday during the closing arguments of his punishment trial.

It was the same emotion Abraham Joseph, who displayed a gun during that rape, showed in court Friday while his wife was on the stand asking the jury for leniency in assessing punishment. She told the jury she met her husband through an arranged marriage.

"The first thing that attracted me was that he was very spiritual," she said.

Choking back tears, she also testified, "He admitted to me he had sex. He was very, very, very upset. He would pray to God. I have forgiven him."

"He is the backbone of my family," she added.

One after another, family and friends including leaders in Joseph's Catholic church also testified on his behalf -- a much different story from Thursday, when three other cantina waitresses described how they say Joseph raped them as well.

Now it is up to the jury to decide his punishment for what he did. The defense is asking for probation.

"When you go in that jury room and you get out your pen and you start to read the jury charge, what you have in your hands is the life of another human being," said defense attorney Nicole DeBorde. "That's a huge responsibility."

The state is asking for life in prison.

"What he is deep down inside and what he will always be is a serial rapist," prosecutor Heyward Carter told the jury. "Do not be afraid to look at him for what he is."

Joseph was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault on Thursday. His punishment could range from five years to life in prison.

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