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Jury finds former Webster coach not guilty of rape

August 26, 2019 06:09 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A jury found a former Webster coach and teacher not guilty on charges of first- and second-degree rape.

Kali Watkins had been accused of raping a 14-year-old player on his JV girls basketball team. 

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Jurors deliberated most of the day Friday, and their last note to the judge was they couldn't reach a unanimous decision. Deliberations resumed Monday morning, and within an hour, they had reached a not guilty verdict. 

When the jury forewoman said not guilty to rape in the first-and second-degree, Watkins let out an emotional sigh and hugged both of his attorneys. The mother of the alleged victim just stared straight ahead and was consoled by a friend. 

Both prosecutors and the defense attorney were also emotional outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced.

Jon Getz, defense attorney: "We are looking at everything."

Jennifer Lewke, News10NBC: "A lawsuit?"

Getz: "Yes ma'am. We're looking at everything. That's how much this ruined this man. Think about what would happen to your life and this is what happened on an allegation. A simple allegation.T his is what they did to him. An allegation...you heard evidence, you actually heard the evidence, and for some reason...six minutes...this was a planned plot in six minutes? My guy was taking his dog to the vet. The jury did the right thing. I'm so proud of what they did because they looked at the evidence and that's what a jury does."

"To say that I'm disappointed would be a huge understatement," Assistant District Attorney Meredith Vacca said. "However, we accept the jury's verdict. I've been prosecuting child abuse cases for over 10 years now, and they are the most challenging cases that come in these courtrooms because the kids don't tell right away, there's no DNA evidence, there's no medical evidence. I will continue to do what I believe is right."

News10NBC asked several jury members if they would speak about their verdict, but they all declined as they left the courthouse.

Watkins and his defense team held a news conference Monday afternoon. Watkins declined to speak to the media. 

Watch the news conference in its entirety below: (Mobile app users: Click here to watch it.)

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