MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A jury reached a partial verdict in the trial of an off-duty cop accused of sexually assaulting a 25-year-old teacher in Inwood last year, but is having trouble reaching a consensus on the rape charges, they told a judge Monday.
Jurors reached a decision on the predatory sexual assault charge against Michael Pena but came to an "impasse" on the rape counts, they wrote in their note to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers.
"We do not believe that further deliberations on [the rape charges] will lead us to a verdict," the jury wrote at a letter submitted to Carruthers around noon.
Carruthers told the jury that he would not accept the partial verdict and ordered the group to continue their discussions, noting for the most part that they had been reviewing testimony.
"I direct you to continue your deliberations on the entire case," the judge told the panel on Monday afternoon, the third day of deliberations.
Members of the jury then asked for a definition of "penetration," a sign that they may be divided over Pena's lawyer's claim that the officer attempted to, but never succeeded in completing his sexual assault of the woman.
Pena allegedly threatened the schoolteacher at gunpoint at 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2011, dragging her into an alley and telling her "Shut the f--k up or I'll shoot you." He allegedly raped her in the lot, but was interrupted several times by passersby.
The alleged victim was in court on Monday dressed in black and surrounded by supporters. She blotted tears from her cheeks as Assistant District Attorney Evan Krutoy approached her with the news of the jury's update.
Jurors also listened to a reading of her powerful testimony about the terrifying alleged encounter with Pena.
The cop faces up to life in prison on the predatory sexual assault charge — which involves the use of a weapon in a sexual assault — if he is found guilty.
Delberations began late Thursday afternoon and are expected to resume on Tuesday morning.