Behind the scenes at the Arroyo trial

I had a chance this afternoon to talk to the forewoman of the jury that convicted retired NYPD detective Jose Arroyo of drugging and raping — but not kidnapping — a woman at a Greenburgh motel. Click here to read the web update.

The forewoman’s name is Linda Blake, and she’s a 49-year-old Greenburgh resident who works as an administrator for a computer company.  This was her first trial, as it was for several other jurors, who deliberated yesterday afternoon and this morning before reaching their split verdict.

She said deliberations were “very, very intense” and that the panel was split at first between Arroyo’s guilt and innocence. But while each juror had an opinion about Arroyo, the victim, and the truthfulness (or not) of several witnesses, she said the verdict was made solely on the evidence presented at the trial.

The jury spent almost as much time reviewing the evidence as they did deliberating it. As jury forewoman, Blake sent out several notes on behalf of the panel, asking for read-backs of part of the victim’s testimony, medical testimony about the timeline of drug impact and the definition of second-degree kidnapping. They also repeatedly watched parts of a security video from Doyle’s Pub in the Bronx, where Arroyo met the victim and, prosecutors alleged, spiked her drink.

Blake said the jury could not tell from the evidence if the woman was so impaired that she could not consent to leave with Arroyo. The uncertainty stemmed from medical tesimony about how long Ambien needs to take effect and a witness who said the victim walked across the street after leaving the bar with Arroyo.

But she said there was no doubt that the drug had taken effect by the time they reached the motel, and that she was unable to consent to the sex or to being posed and photographed nude.

“We used the evidence, our experience and our common sense,” she said.

3rd delay in sentencing prostitute rapist

Tyrone Haywood of New Rochelle won’t be going to state prison quite yet. His new court-appointed attorney asked the judge for a few weeks to find a witness he claims will recant testimony against Haywood, who was convicted last year of raping two prostitutes, one in May 2007 and the other in January 2008.

Click here to read more about the case.

Both women testified against him at trial and a jury didn’t take long to convict him of first-degree rape and a host of other charges. He’s facing 25 years in prison on each of the rape counts.

Haywood was supposed to be sentenced today. His sentencing was postponed twice before because he booted his trial lawyer and his new public defender had to get up to speed on his case.

He’ll be back before state Supreme Court justice Lester Adler on March 19. The judge told Haywood and his lawyer that if they can’t find the woman and don’t have the right paperwork by that date, he’ll hand Haywood his prison sentence.