Still no verdict in Marsalis rape trial

Posted: June 13, 2007

The jury in the Jeffrey Marsalis rape trial deliberated for a fourth day without reaching a verdict, but jurors asked the judge a question yesterday that could suggest trouble for the prosecution.

Marsalis, 34, is accused of drugging and raping seven woman whom he lured into dates by pretending to be a doctor, a secret agent, and an astronaut.

Jurors a day earlier could be heard shouting at each other. Yesterday, cooler heads prevailed.

The jury asked the judge in a written question: "Can a person give consent to intercourse while legally intoxicated?"

Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Geroff simply reread his legal instructions regarding consent.

The question seemed to indicate that at least some of the jurors do not believe the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the women were drugged.

But the fact they were willing to enter a fifth day of deliberations shows that some jurors are not willing to acquit Marsalis and go home without an exhaustive examination of the case.

The seven women, who did not know each other, provided remarkably similar accounts of their experiences while allegedly being drugged.

However, they did not report the rapes to the police or submit to a hospital examination at the time of the alleged rapes from 2003 to 2005.

They came forward with their stories after being contacted by police, who were able to locate them with information found in Marsalis' laptop computer.


Contact staff writer Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com.

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