Jurors began deliberations Tuesday afternoon on a Gainesville man charged with rape.
Jose Luis Aguilar, 42, is charged with four counts of rape, two counts of aggravated child molestation, one count of aggravated sodomy and seven counts each of incest, aggravated sexual battery and child molestation.
In his closing argument, senior public defender Travis Williams urged the jurors to consider all the facts of the case, rather than turn it into a question of he said-she said.
Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Burton, in her closing arguments, told jurors otherwise.
“You either believe (the alleged victim) or you don’t. It’s black and white,” Burton said.
She argued to jurors that the alleged victim’s “testimony alone is enough,” and that the burden of proof did not require further corroborating evidence.
Medical examiner Heather Hayes said examination of the victim was inconclusive about sexual assault.
“Those sorts of pieces of missing evidence are doubt and it is your duty to acquit,” Williams said.
“Your role is not to look for doubt, but seek the truth,” Burton said.
Williams made several appeals to the jurors, and asked them to give Aguilar “the true benefit” of presumption of innocence.
“And you don’t have to check your common sense at the door,” he added.
He said it was “misleading” for Burton to present a “who do you believe” argument.
That question was at the forefront of Burton’s final words to the jury — who by court process hear first from prosecution, then defense, and again from the prosecution for final remarks.
“Who is the monster?” she asked the jurors, and directed their attention to the alleged victim, now 14, whom she instructed to stand up.
Williams focused his arguments on the lack of injury, opportunity and circumstance for Aguilar to rape the alleged victim.
“The opportunity was just not there. There were too many people sleeping in that room,” Williams said.
Williams, and co-counselor Clint Teston, called witnesses who largely spoke to the family dynamic of the household — the heavy traffic it saw, crowded quarters and days now past of largely pleasant interaction.
“Rape can be quiet, it can happen all the time, it can happen daily, it can be a big secret, it doesn’t require any force, or proof of any entry,” Burton said.
She said that the family should have notified authorities immediately when the alleged victim first mentioned the abuse.
“That’s what she gets when she finally has the gumption to utter the words? They move her 12 feet across the street,” she said.
Burton took the argument a step further in the second part of her final arguments, arguing that the whole family was both aware and complicit with the abuse.
She also spoke to the alleged victim’s post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, a point of contention for the defense, and validation of the alleged rape history for the state.
“She’s making progress,” Burton said. “It shows her credibility.”
Williams described the case as “hinging” on the PTSD, and that the diagnosis was based on what she told psychologists, with no regard to truthfulness.
“They are lock, stock and barrel taking her word as gold,” he said of the therapists, and cited incidents in which she had lied about drug use and other behaviors.
“It’s not there, it won’t be there, it can’t be there,” he said, of the long-term sexual abuse her therapists said was consistent with PTSD.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours and will resume at 9 a.m. today.