A jury continued deliberations Feb. 20 and asked to review a videotaped police interview in the second trial of Clay Conaway, a former University of Delaware baseball player charged with strangulation and attempted second-degree rape.
At 5 p.m., the jury was dismissed for the day, and they will resume deliberations 9 a.m., Friday, Feb. 21.
The 12 jurors, seven men and five women, began deliberations at 9:15 a.m. in Delaware Superior Court in Wilmington. Attorneys and Judge Richard F. Stokes were called to court after the jury asked to see a videotaped police interview with the alleged victim. The 24-minute interview was played during the trial, but the jury wished to review it again as part of their deliberations.
During six days of testimony, the victim testified she met Conaway, a University of Delaware baseball player, through the dating app Tinder. When she went to Conaway’s house, she said, the two talked and kissed before Conaway, 23, grabbed her, threw her on the bed and attempted to have sex with her. During the incident, the woman, who was 20 years old at the time, said Conaway put his hands on her throat and started choking her. She testified that she couldn’t breathe and thought she was going to die. She said she screamed to get Conaway to stop, and he did. Then, two roommates escorted her out of the house, she said.
Conaway’s defense attributed the incident to a series of misunderstandings and aimed to point out inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony.
According to defense attorneys, the woman could not accurately recall details of the room where the alleged incident occurred. She testified about a wooden headboard that she hit her head on, which his parents and his landlord later testified was not there, and she said the room was full of Conaway’s trophies and awards, which others testified were not there. Defense attorney Joe Hurley also questioned why it took so long for the woman to report the incident, which she didn’t do until Aug. 29, 2018, through a Title IX complaint with the university.
Prosecutors maintain the core of the woman’s story - that Conaway tried to force her to have sex and then choked her - has remained consistent throughout.
Conaway was indicted Aug. 20, 2018, by a grand jury on first-degree rape for an incident at his Georgetown home. He pleaded not guilty Aug. 24 to the first-degree charge; by the end of September, five more women claimed he assaulted them between 2013 and 2018, resulting in five counts of second-degree rape. One woman eventually dropped her case, but in November 2018 Conaway was indicted on strangulation and attempted second-degree rape, the charges he faced in the latest trial. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In September 2019, Conaway was convicted of fourth-degree rape, a lesser charge offered in his first-degree rape trial. Stokes sentenced Conaway in November 2019 to five years of prison, and he has since been incarcerated at Sussex Correctional Institution. Conaway still faces four more trials on second-degree rape charges.