Former Oklahoma City police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw, 29, was sentenced Thursday to 263 years in prison, the maximum sentence, after being convicted of rapes and a slew of other offenses that authorities said occurred while he was on duty, the Washington Post reported. Holtzclaw was convicted last month on 18 of 36 charged filed against him.
Holtzclaw, who has been identified as Asian or Pacific Islander, was accused of committing sex crimes against 13 African-American women and was convicted of offenses involving eight of the women. An all-white jury heard the trial.
“I was out there alone and helpless, didn’t know what to do,” said Annie Ligons, who spoke with reporters after the conviction and described what happened after a traffic stop with Holtzclaw. “And in my mind, all I could think was that he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me.”
Some of the most serious charges Holtzclaw was convicted of included rape and forcible oral sodomy. Investigators alleged that he had used his position and power to target women in a low-income neighborhood. His crimes occurred over a seven-month time span in 2013 and 2014.
“He didn’t choose CEOs or soccer moms; he chose women he could count on not telling what he was doing,” prosecutor Lori McConnell said during closing arguments, according Reuters. “He counted on the fact no one would believe them and no one would care.”
Throughout his trial, Holtzclaw maintained his innocence and had a dedicated following of supporters online who used the hashtag #FreeTheClaw. In an attempt to undermine his victims’ credibility, his attorney, Scott Adams, questioned Holtzclaw’s accusers on their marijuana use, drinking, thefts and suspended driver’s licenses.
Holtzclaw’s attorney reportedly filed a motion Wednesday seeking either a new trial or “an evidentiary hearing to determine whether discovery was withheld from the defense,” the Oklahoman reported. The motion, however, was denied Thursday.