Dharun Ravi, the Rutgers student charged with spying on his college roommate Tyler Clementi, who was having a sexual encounter with another man and later committed suicide, has been found guilty of hate crimes, tampering with witnesses, lying to investigators and destroying evidence. He will face a sentencing hearing on May 21, 2012.
The case was brought national attention to gay bulling when Ravi's roommate, Clementi, committed suicide in September, 2010, after he discovered a webcam was used to spy on him kissing another man.
Prosecutors said that Ravi intentionally set up the webcam in his dorm room in September, 2010. He then tweeted about it and attempted to catch Clementi with the same unidentified 32-year-old man two days later. About half-dozen students reportedly saw the video of Clementi and man, according to the Associated Press.
Ravi, 20, could face up to 10 years in prison. Ravi, a citizen of India who was raised in New Jersey, is charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering as well as deterring his arrest, reported ABC. He was prosecuted with 15 total charges and could face deportation.
Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi's death.
The 12 jurors deliberated for nearly 11 hours as they weighed heavily on the testimony from the prosecution and the defense. For 13 days, the jurors listened to over 30 witnesses and 100 pieces of evidence as they determined Ravi's fate.
Bruno Ferreira said it was very difficult for him and the other 11 jurors to reach a guilty verdict on the hate, reported Reuters.
Thinking about it not being done once, being done twice, not just on one day, convinced the jury of seven women and five men to convict Ravi on the hate crime charge.
The Clementi family was seated in the front row of the courtroom, just behind the prosecutor, reported The Star-Ledger.
Ravi and Clementi were both 18 at the time of the incident. They were randomly assigned to be roommates at the beginning of their freshman year at Rutgers University. Clementi reportedly arrived at college just a few days he admitted to his parents he was gay, according to the AP.
On September 19, 2010, Clementi asked Ravi to leave the room he could spend time with a guest. Ravi allegedly posted on Twitter Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay, according to the AP.
Prosecutors said that Ravi invited others to a viewing party to watch Clementi and the man together.
During the trial, prosecutes said that Clementi check Ravi's Twitter account 38 times in two days, reported Reuters, before he ultimately decided to end his life.
Ravi told investigators he accessed his webcam from his friend's laptop on Sept 19. He accidentally found out what was going between Clementi and the 32-year-old.
The defense said he turned off his webcam seconds after he saw the two men kissing. Two days later, he dared others to access his webcam to spy on his roommate and the unidentified man on his Twitter.