Cops and Courts, News

UPDATE: Judge declare mistrial as jury fails to reach verdict

UPDATE: Judge Clawges declared a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. The last note the jury sent said there was no movement since before lunch. The case is back on the docket and scheduled for February.

MORGANTOWN — Jurors deliberated for about 45 minutes after hearing the second day’s testimony in the case against Ibrahim Hamid, but did not reach a conclusion and will resume at 9 a.m. today.
Hamid is charged with second-degree sexual assault for an alleged incident that took place as he was driving for Uber.
The day started with testimony by Detective J. Friend, who walked the jury through his investigation after the alleged victim came to him on April 29 to report the crime.
The Dominion Post does not typically identify victims of sexual assault or alleged sexual crimes.
She didn’t give him much to go on at first, Friend testified. The victim knew she was downtown, celebrating for finishing her master’s and her birthday when she was separated from her friends. She next remembered being in a car and someone on top of her, in front of her apartment, he said.
Several days later the victim called with more details about the alleged assault. Some days later, she remembered she went to McDonald’s in Suncrest Towne Centre. A few days after that, she called and said she found a receipt from that visit, and using the timestamp Friend said he was able to find the owner of the van she was in.
The owner of the van pointed Friend to Hamid about two weeks after the alleged assault.
During his interview with Friend, the video of which was played for the jury, Hamid lied several times. He denied recognizing the victim after being shown a picture, he denied picking up people when he wasn’t driving for Uber. He asked Friend if the woman he was shown a picture of recognized him.
Hamid said he lied because he was afraid.
Monongalia County Prosecutor Perri DeChristopher asked Hamid if he was scared on the stand and he said yes.
Lance Rollo, defense attorney, said Hamid was the only one who clearly remembered what happened that night and said Hamid was telling the truth during his testimony Thursday.
Hamid testified after he was done taking Uber fares about 2 a.m. April 28, he was on his way home when he saw the victim standing in front of the Mountainlair in the rain. He offered her a ride “to be nice,” he testified.
She asked to stop at McDonalds, which he did and while waiting for the food she said he was nice and they kissed a few times, Hamid said.
On the way to West Run, where the woman lived, Hamid said she fed him fries and in front of her apartment, the two began to kiss again and ultimately moved to the back seat and had sex.
Hamid contradicted the victim’s testimony and said she gave him her number after the assault. Hamid attempted to call several times over the next six hours or so, but the phone number he called was one number different than the victim’s phone number.
The victim said after she left the van she ran into her apartment and did not give her number to Hamid during that time.
In her closing argument, DeChristopher said Hamid’s testimony sounded like the plot of bad porn movie and asked the jury if it was reasonable to believe this woman was so overcome with emotion from the small talk and free ride that she would have sex with Hamid.
Rollo asked the jury if someone who just committed sexual assault would call his alleged victim or if it would be more likely that he would have tried to conceal his identity in every way possible.
DeChristopher told the jury it was a defense attorney’s job to show them something shiny and hide the facts and that the phone number and calls were that something shiny.