TULSA, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma court has overturned the conviction of former Oklahoma State basketball player Darrell Williams, who was accused of sexually assaulting two women at an off-campus party in 2010.
In its 10-page decision released Tuesday, the Court of Criminal Appeals said the testimony of jurors at a special hearing last year suggested that at least two jurors made unauthorized visits to the crime scene, and that those visits were discussed during deliberations.
Williams was convicted in 2012 of two counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual battery. He was not sentenced to any jail time but was ordered to register as a sex offender.
It was not immediately clear what the appeals court ruling would mean for Williams’ status as a registered sex offender.
Payne County District Attorney Tom Lee said Thursday that his office would decide in coming weeks whether to seek a new trial.
Williams was not immediately available for comment. His aunt, Mildred Williams, said the family could issue a statement later Thursday but needed to meet with the attorneys first.
“We’ve been crying, shouting. It’s good news. It’s great news!” Mildred Williams said in a phone interview Thursday from her home in Chicago.
Associated Press left a message seeking comment for Williams’ current defense attorney. His defense attorney during his trial, Cheryl Ramsey, applauded the reversal.
Two women testified at trial that Williams groped them against their will at the party.
Williams’ attorneys argued that he was misidentified, noting that the women identified Williams as their attacker after police showed them a lineup of the Oklahoma State basketball team. The women testified that they identified Williams after police showed them a photo of the team.
One woman said Williams held her against her will and dragged her in a yard. She said the attack happened in the basement of the house and that no one came to her aid.
“It made me feel violated and sick to my stomach,” she testified.
Witnesses for the defense testified that several players at the party wore similar Oklahoma State warm-up suits, and Williams’ attorneys said that could have led to a misidentification.
Williams’ attorneys maintained that no one at the party heard anyone scream, saw any struggles or reported anything inappropriate. Neither of the women suffered any cuts or scratches, and no clothing was torn after the alleged incident.
The basketball player’s family said Darrell, who is black, was an innocent victim of misidentification by the white women at the party and of racial profiling by a jury of 11 whites and one Asian member who were picked from a largely white jury pool.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.