Jury finds man accused of rape in Ross, Hopewell townships guilty

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PITTSBURGH - A jury found a Ross Township man guilty on all counts related to raping two North Hills women and a third Hopewell Township woman.

The trial against Arthur Lamont Henderson began earlier this month. Allegheny County prosecutors said the rapes occurred last January.

Henderson, 39, was charged with 60 counts, including multiple counts of rape; aggravated, sexual and indecent assault; robbery; burglary; false imprisonment; unlawful restraint; and criminal trespass.

Henderson defended himself and cross-examined the alleged victims during the trial. Henderson denied raping the women, though an expert said his DNA linked him to each of the crimes.

During his closing arguments, Henderson told the jury that most of the witnesses in the case lied and called the trial a "mockery."

"My DNA is not a crime, not proof of anything. Proof we had sex," Henderson said. "There's no evidence. There is not one piece of physical evidence. 97 percent of the people who testified lied," said Henderson. "It don't make sense. It don't add up. It's a mockery."

Channel 11's Cara Sapida reported that Henderson's closing arguments lasted for more than an hour. At one point, Sapida said, the judge told Henderson that he was "rambling."

During the prosecution's closing arguments, Sapida said Henderson objected at least six times. Prosecutor Laura Ditka asked the jury to not be "distracted by the sometimes circus-like demonstration by the defendant."

"This has been proven beyond any and all doubt. You have beyond a quintillion of doubt," Ditka said to the jury.

She went on to tell Henderson, "You have destroyed the lives of four people because you were desperate for money."

During testimony, one woman told jurors that she pleaded with her assailant not to rape her as he held a gun to her head.

“I kept telling him don't do this to me. Please don't do this to me,” the Hopewell woman said, crying. “I knew what my eyes were seeing, but my mind was not believing it.”

The woman, 50, was the first of Henderson's three rape victims in January 2012, prosecutors said.

The assaults took place at two North Hills apartment complexes and the Hopewell woman's home.

Ditka said during her opening statement that the attacks “shattered the safety and security” of the suburb.

Police said Henderson followed the first victim home from Rivers Casino on Jan. 7, 2012, and raped her at gunpoint in her bedroom while her ex-fiance's son and his cousin were nearby.

Prosecutors said Henderson forced himself inside the Ross apartment of the second victim, raped her and then bound her wrists and ankles with duct tape.

The woman was stoic when she took the stand and relayed to the jury what occurred. She choked up when describing how Henderson raped her twice and barely winced when Henderson cross-examined her.

“This is the chair that I was raped on,” she told the jury, pointing at a photo.

The third victim, a resident of the Cascade Apartments in Ross, was in the same room as her 4-month-old child when Henderson raped her, police said, and adjacent to a room where Henderson had tied her fiance's hands behind his back.