Jury begins deliberations in ex-Bronco's trial

P. SOLOMON BANDA Associated Press Published:

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (AP) -- Jurors in the sexual assault trial of former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox on Thursday saw video of him expressing shock that the alleged victim was pregnant and that he was accused of raping her.

Cox is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his apartment over Labor Day weekend 2010. Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases Thursday morning, and the jury began deliberations after closing arguments concluded early in the afternoon.

In the portion of a videotaped interview that detectives did with Cox the night he was arrested, Lone Tree Police Department Detective Steve Hipp informs Cox that his DNA indicates he impregnated the woman. Cox then sits back and says, "Are you serious?"

"I never raped nobody," Cox told the detective as both talked in a loud voice. "I'm losing it because, seriously, I never touched this girl."

The interview ends with Cox asking: "I'm going to jail? You're kidding me. What am I supposed to do? I didn't."

Later, Hipp testified that he took Cox to a holding cell where Cox later asked him, "What if she jumped on me when I was passed out?"

Cox also told the detectives that another girl, Carthy Che, a woman he was dating at the time, was also at the apartment. He said he could have had sex with her if he wanted sex.

Cox was arrested after the alleged victim realized she was pregnant and contacted police. The woman testified Wednesday, saying she had a fuzzy memory of what happened that night and suspected she had been drugged after waking up feeling sick the next day.

Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas also testified Wednesday, describing how Cox carried the sleeping woman into his bedroom and told Thomas: "She's ready."

Cox is being tried on one count of sexual assault while the victim was physically helpless and one count of sexual assault while the victim was incapable of determining the nature of the conduct. He informed the judge Thursday that he would not testify. He faces two years to life in prison if convicted.

In his closing argument, prosecutor Chris Gallo pointed to evidence that Cox's DNA matched the fetus. The only way the accuser could have gotten pregnant was through intercourse, but she was incapable of giving consent, he said.

Cox's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, has sought to paint a picture of drunkenness and failed sexual relations between Thomas and the woman, and possible sexual relations between the woman and Che.

On Thursday, he called the accuser and Che "a couple of party girls." He also told jurors that just because the woman didn't remember having sex doesn't mean rape occurred.

The Associated Press is not naming the woman because she is the alleged victim of a sex crime.

Both Thomas and the woman testified that they kissed during a car ride to Cox's apartment from a nightclub and then kissed again while on an air mattress in Cox's living room. The woman said she doesn't remember much after kissing Thomas.

Under questioning from Cox's attorney, the woman said she suspected something happened and that if it had been with Thomas, she wouldn't have considered it rape.

"It wouldn't have been fine but I wouldn't have seen it as rape if he admitted it," she said, referring to Thomas.

She said she went to a hospital the next day, but left before police could arrive and collect evidence because she didn't want to falsely accuse anybody when she wasn't sure something happened.

Thomas testified that Cox carried the sleeping woman to his bed and told Thomas, "I think she's ready." Steinberg objected, arguing Thomas he hadn't used the "she's ready" phrase in a previous interview, and he asked for a mistrial. District Judge Paul King declined.

Under questioning by Steinberg, Thomas said he sent the woman a text the next day to ask if she remembered what happened, which the woman told police she found suspicious. Thomas said he sent the text after Cassius Vaughn, Cox's roommate who was asleep in the apartment during the alleged assault, told him at the Broncos' practice facility that Che and the accuser "had a girl on girl action."

The trial is taking place in Castle Rock, 30 miles south of Denver.

Thomas caught an 80-yard touchdown pass in overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a first-round playoff game in January.