New York, May 3 (IANS) A Sikh taxi driver in New York has been found guilty of kidnapping and raping a 29-year-old female passenger three years ago and faces 25 years in prison when he is sentenced May 12.
But a Brooklyn jury Friday acquitted Gurmeet Singh, 42, of Queens of robbery and assault as well as the top count of predatory sexual assault, New York Daily News reported.
“I was terrified. I thought it was really scary,” a 61-year-old female juror was quoted as saying of the victim’s testimony, which was punctuated by hysterical sobs as she recounted waking up in the back of a car and being violated at knifepoint.
Some members of the panel, which deliberated for over a day, tended to buy Singh’s account that the back-seat sex was consensual, Daily News said.
But the panel eventually agreed that the woman must have passed out and could not have thrown herself at the bearded driver, as he claimed.
The victim, a non-profit employee, testified she hailed a yellow cab in Williamsburg after a Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”), a Mexican-American holiday, party in May 2011, dozed off and came to when the defendant was on top of her.
“Bound, gagged, blindfolded with a knife to her throat,” prosecutor Linda Weinman was quoted as saying in her closing argument. “(She) woke up to her worst nightmare.”
The victim suffered cuts and a busted lip and her cellphone and $20 were missing.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to get killed’,” she recounted through tears last week.
Gurmeet Singh was earlier implicated but never charged in a similar attack in Harlem, according to Daily News.