The fate of Clay Conaway is in the hands of the jury as they began deliberations Friday, Sept. 27.
Conaway, 23, is facing a charge of first-degree rape for an alleged incident that occurred June 20 at his Georgetown home. A woman testified that she never gave Conaway consent when they had sex, and that the incident left her with severe hip pain.
Deputy Attorney General Casey Ewart asked the jury to consider why the Millsboro woman, 21, would go through the medical exam, interviews and court process if she didn't believe a crime was committed.
“Think about what this entire process has meant to her,” Ewart said.
The jury of 12 – seven middle-aged white men, two middle-aged white woman, as well as two black men and one black woman, who all appear to be in their 20s or 30s – now must decide whether Conaway is guilty or innocent.
On Sept. 26, Sussex Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes instructed the jury that they could find Conaway guilty of first-degree rape, second-degree rape or fourth-degree rape. The guilty decision, however, must be unanimous; all jurors must believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, he said.
In all three charges, jurors must find that the sexual assault happened without the woman's consent in order to find Conaway guilty. In first-degree rape, the jury must also agree that the incident caused physical injury – in this case, hip strain diagnosed about two days after the incident in which the doctor prescribed over-the-counter ibuprofen. Second-degree rape does not include physical injury. For the fourth-degree rape charge, the jury would have to agree that there was sexual penetration without consent.
First-degree rape carries a minimum sentence of 15 years, and second-degree rape has a minimum of 10 years. Fourth-degree rape has no minimum, but the sentence can be up to 15 years.