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(John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool)

Jury Convicts Ex-NFL Player Of Rape, Mulls 8 Other Charges

June 10, 2019 - 11:18 pm
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By JULIE WATSON Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A California jury that convicted former NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr. of raping a 58-year-old homeless woman has been ordered to return to deliberations Tuesday after deadlocking on eight other charges against him, including two additional counts of rape involving a 54-year-old hitchhiker and an unconscious teen.

A jury on Monday in San Diego Superior Court in Vista found the son of a Hall of Famer guilty of the attack last year on the homeless woman in his picturesque beach community of Encinitas, north of San Diego.

The jury also found the 35-year-old former tight end guilty of indecent exposure and lewd conduct involving two other women, but jurors found him not guilty of one count of a lewd act.

Winslow, who played for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets, faces up to life in prison if convicted of all counts.

All five women testified during the nine-day trial. Winslow did not take the stand.

Defense attorneys pointed out inconsistencies in the accusers' testimonies and argued the women invented the allegations to prey on the wealth of Winslow, who reportedly earned over $40 million during his 10 seasons with the NFL.

Prosecutors say the son of Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow felt empowered by his fame to abuse the most vulnerable.

Prosecutor Dan Owens told the jury of eight men and four women that Winslow is a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

The five women testified that they didn't know Winslow was famous when they met him.

The homeless woman in Encinitas, who was 58 at the time, testified that he befriended her and attacked her next to his vehicle after inviting her for a coffee in May 2018.

A 54-year-old hitchhiker said he drove her to an Encinitas shopping center parking lot and raped her in his Hummer in March 2018.

A 57-year-old woman said he exposed himself to her while she tended to her garden in May of 2018. The jury found him guilty of that charge Monday.

After news of the attacks broke, a woman came forward and said Winslow had raped her when she was a 17-year-old high school student in 2003. He was 19 at the time and had come home from college for the summer.

A 77-year-old woman who went to the same gym as Winslow in the nearby beach community of Carlsbad said he committed lewd acts in front of her, including touching himself, while Winslow was free on $2 million bail in February. The jury found him guilty of touching himself in front of the woman while she exercised, but not guilty of committing a lewd act in front of her on a separate occasion in the gym's hot tub.

After the jury sent a note saying it was deadlocked on the eight other charges, the judge sent them back to deliberate. They went home less than an hour later and were ordered to return Tuesday.

Jurors on Friday sent a note to the judge indicating it was struggling to reach agreement.

"The jurors could benefit from an explanation as to what being under oath means," the note said. "Additionally, how we should follow the law and not what we think the law means."

The judge told jurors being under oath means telling the whole truth and that they should follow the law how it is written.

Defense attorney Marc Carlos questioned the credibility of the women's claims, saying they had lied, misconstrued things or were unable to initially identify him correctly.

Defense lawyers also said the sex was consensual and that Winslow had cheated on his wife repeatedly with no-strings-attached sex.

Prosecutors said the crux of the women's stories didn't change and that evidence included traces of Winslow's DNA on one of the accuser's pants and GPS locations placing him where the women said the assaults occurred.