(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) — The jury in the trial of former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi completed its first day of deliberations on Wednesday without reaching a verdict on charges that he spied on his gay roommate Tyler Clementi.
Ravi, 20, is charged with multiple counts of invasion of privacy, tampering with evidence and bias intimidation — a hate crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison — for allegedly using his webcam to spy on Clementi with another man in their shared Rutgers dorm room just weeks into their freshman year.
It’s a case that has generated 17 months of intense media attention after Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010.
If convicted of the most serious charges, Ravi, an Indian citizen who grew up in New Jersey, could also be deported.
The jury of seven women and five men asked the judge for guidance on New Jersey’s bias intimidation law shortly after beginning deliberations. The issue of bias intimidation is the most serious charges against Ravi, which is required for a conviction of a hate crime.
The jurors deciding Ravi’s fate range from young people in their 20s to grandparents in their 70s. One is the mother of a 20-year-old who enjoys playing Frisbee, sharing Ravi’s age and interest. One is a freelance writer who is single and without any children, and another young juror said he still plays X-Box games in his free time.
In helping to select the jury for the defense, Joshua Dubin, a nationally renowned lawyer and legal consultant, told ABC News that he hoped the younger jurors can “educate the rest of the jury” about the mechanics of Twitter, Facebook and iChat since several pieces of key evidence involve Ravi’s online posts about viewing his roommate on his webcam.
The defense team also sought jurors who would not be afraid of public backlash if they came to a “not guilty” verdict in a case that has captured the nation’s attention. Dubin cited the controversial 2011 Casey Anthony acquittal as a recent example of the pressures a juror might face.
He predicts a verdict from the jury by Friday.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jethro Mullen, CNN