MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A jury is expected to begin deliberations Thursday in the trial of an accused rapist and stalker who prosecutors say preyed on Upper West Side women he approached in public places.
Hugues-Denver Akassy, 43, is charged with raping a Russian tourist in Riverside Park, sexually abusing an Upper East Side woman in an apartment building stairwell and stalking and harassing three other women.
"This defendant mercilessly violated each one of his victims," Assistant District Attorney Jessica Troy said in her closing argument Wednesday.
Although he started as a "charming, affable and kind" acquaintance to the women he allegedly targeted, his "viciousness" shined through as soon as he received any hint of rejection.
"If someone rejected him, ignored him, if he was excluded, that was intolerable to [Akassy]," Troy added.
Akassy's trial came to a close on Wednesday after roughly two weeks of testimony from four women who say they were targeted by the alleged predator.
The Russian woman could not be brought to New York to testify even though prosecutors attempted to get cooperation from her government and tried to make a trip there to interview her.
Several witnesses said that the woman who left the park looked upset and disheveled. They asked her if she needed help and then called the police.
Because she did not testify, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser will issue a "missing witness charge" to jurors who will be allowed to consider the witness's absence in evaluating the evidence.
Akassy's attorney, Glenn Hardy, argued in his closing argument that Akassy's sexual interactions with the alleged victims were consensual. Akassy himself took the witness stand and described how he approached women he thought were attractive so he could compliment them and get their information for networking and possible dates.
"Ladies and gentlemen, if approaching a woman on the streets of New York is a crime, romance is dead," Hardy said.
Jurors will begin deliberations Thursday morning after they hear the judge's instructions.
Akassy faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the top charge.