An Orleans Parish jury convicted two young cousins Friday afternoon in the brutal gang rape and robbery of a home health care nurse two years ago inside a boarded-up house in the Zion City neighborhood.
The jury of seven women and five men didn’t buy a suggestion by attorneys for 19-year-old Glenn Elliott that the encounter was consensual and that the woman’s account of the incident couldn’t be trusted.
Jermaine Rumley’s alibi, supported by his mother, also fell flat. Oneika Rumley claimed she was driving her son to see an apartment for rent in Lakeview around the time the rape took place about 3:30 p.m. Jan. 26, 2012.
The victim, now 55, sat with her family in the second row of the courtroom gallery when the jury entered at 4:50 p.m. after eating lunch and deliberating for a little more than two hours. She remained silent as the verdicts were announced.
Family members for Rumley and Elliott sat across the aisle and left the courtroom seconds before the victim, many of them bawling.
Both men were convicted of aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping and armed robbery.
Elliott and Rumley, who is 23, both face life prison terms.
The convictions brought to an end a four-day trial in which the victim gave harrowing testimony about being forced at gunpoint to perform oral sex while being violated by men she couldn’t see.
The man with the gun to her head — identified by a co-defendant as Darren Holmes — threatened to kill her if she looked up, she testified.
The New Orleans Advocate does not name victims of sexual assaults.
Holmes, 21, received a 40-year prison sentence in March after pleading guilty to forcible rape, second-degree kidnapping and armed robbery.
David Quinn, who identified Holmes, Elliott and Rumley from the witness stand Thursday, admitted he was the first to spot the woman as the group looked for someone to rob. Holmes, he said, approached the woman’s car with a gun. Elliott also was armed, Quinn said.
The woman testified that Holmes got in the car and forced her to drive to a boarded-up house. He pushed in the boards and forced her inside a ramshackle first-floor area at gunpoint.
After Holmes ordered her to undress and perform oral sex, others joined the fray, Quinn testified, denying that he participated in the sexual attack.
Quinn pleaded guilty in September to armed robbery and took an 18-year prison sentence, contingent on his testimony.
A fifth man, Brian Beasley, has a trial date set for next week, although Quinn and a cousin of the two men, Justin “Hot Bizzle” Elliott, denied that Beasley was there.
Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson set a June 19 sentencing date for Elliott and Rumley. The jury verdict was unanimous on the rape and armed robbery charges and was 11-1 on the kidnapping counts.
Calls made from a cellphone stolen from the woman that day led a police detective first to Justin Elliott, who testified this week against his cousins.
DNA from a rape examination performed on the woman later that night turned up a positive match with Glenn Elliott.
That left one of Elliott’s attorneys, George Gates, scrambling to defend him.
“We believe that these are the actions of regret, that a sexual act happened, something (in which) a person changed their mind and said four to six men attacked them, and then there was no proof of that,” Gates argued. He relied on testimony from an expert who said it didn’t appear the woman had suffered tears or other injuries.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Moore, who tried the case with prosecutor Payal Patel, excoriated Gates for suggesting the woman had consented to what happened.
Moore reminded the jury that the woman testified she later underwent hours of rape examination and was forced to take pills that she said nearly made her throw up. He flashed pictures on a video screen showing the scrapes and bruises the woman suffered, saying they were caused by being bent over a wooden plank at one point while being raped.
Her knees were cut and dirty, her toenails broken off.
“What is the story? What is the lie? How did she end up in an abandoned house having sex with 17-year-old Glenn Elliott?” Moore asked. “Why would she go in this abandoned residence, have sex with Glenn Elliott, wind up in the hospital, chug down all these pills?
“There’s no consent anywhere in these photographs. The argument that she consented to this makes absolutely no sense.”
To bolster Quinn’s testimony, Moore tried to shoot holes in Rumley’s alibi defense, saying the prosecution asked his mother for proof of their apartment hunt that day but never received any.
After the verdict, Gates acknowledged that a consent defense was difficult to prove.
“It’s not like they were a couple,” he said. “David Quinn, I guess they believed what he said.”
Holmes, Elliott and another man also were accused in two jailhouse rapes last year of an inmate from Texas who had been awaiting extradition. Holmes pleaded guilty in that case along with his plea in the robbery and rape case.
The inmate rape cases against Elliott and the other man, Dwayne Miller, remain pending.
Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.