Jones trial in closing sessions

The jury deliberated for five hours after listening to closing arguments.

Jury deliberations continued Thursday in the criminal sexual conduct case against former Gopher football player Dominic Jones.

Jurors deliberated for five hours Wednesday after they heard closing statements from both sides in the morning.

In deciding whether to convict Jones, the jurors must decide if the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Jones committed nonconsensual penetration of the alleged victim while knowing or having reason to know that she was physically helpless.

Although the jury could convict Jones of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, the charges originally brought against him, a lesser charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct was included in Hennepin County Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum’s jury instructions.

In her instructions to the jury, Rosenbaum defined fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct as contact with the alleged victim’s “intimate areas” with sexual or aggressive intent, while knowing or having reason to believe she was physically helpless.

Jones could face up to 15 years in prison for the third-degree charges and a maximum of 10 years for the lesser charge.

However, since he has no prior convictions, if convicted on the third-degree charges, Jones could serve only 41 to 58 months.

Much of Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Martha Holton-Dimick’s closing argument for the state focused on the fact that penetration can also include oral sex.

Gray, in his own closing argument, called the state’s focus on oral sex a last-ditch effort to convict Jones and that the claims lacked evidence.

“They must have thought that up this morning or last night,” he said. “They want you to convict him with no evidence.”

Holton-Dimick played the video again for jurors, and said the amount of semen in her mouth at the beginning and end of the 30-second video indicated Jones inserted himself inside her mouth.

Gray’s closing argument was punctuated with large, swooping arm gestures and his pacing around the courtroom.

He raised his voice to remind the jurors of Jones’ presumed innocence.

“Freedom starts here, ladies and gentlemen,” Gray said. “They have all the power in the world. My client has his constitutional rights.”

Gray also called the state’s frequent reliance on and showing of the cell phone video “convoluted torturing of the evidence.”

Both sides walked the jurors through each count of the charges, trying to convince them to see their side.

In terms of establishing the alleged victim was physically helpless, Holton-Dimick pointed to the video, and returned to the testimony of Laquisha Malone and former Gophers football player Robert McField.

Holton-Dimick said both circumstantial and direct evidence of penetration exists via the video and McField’s testimony.

In response, Gray pointed out the inconsistencies of the investigation as a whole, including the testimony of many of the state’s witnesses.

“What kind of investigation is this?” Gray asked the jurors. “We have a man on trial here.”

Jake Grovum and Emma Carew are senior staff reporters.