Jury deliberation began Wednesday in the New Jersey trial of a former university student accused of spying on his gay roommate, who later committed suicide.
Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi is charged with a hate crime by using a webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, during a gay sexual encounter. Clementi, 18, died when he jumped off New York's George Washington Bridge three days later.
Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman gave 90 minutes of instructions to the five men and seven women on the jury, who are deliberating on the 15 counts of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, and tampering with evidence, The (Newark) Star-Ledger reported. Ravi could be sentenced to 10 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Prosecutors allege Ravi, 20, was motivated by a hatred of homosexuals when he activated his webcam from a friend's computer on Sept. 19, 2010, and invited friends to watch his roommate of three weeks kissing another man, the newspaper said. His attorneys argue he didn't know what he would see when he turned on the camera and that his actions, including tweeting what he was seeing and inviting others to watch, were evidence of immaturity and ignorance, but not bias intimidation.
Deliberations will end at 4 p.m. Wednesday. If no verdict is reached, deliberations will resume Thursday morning.