SALT LAKE CITY — An eight-person jury from Box Elder County agonized for two days as they deliberated, sometimes through tears and tense voices, the fate of a onetime NFL hopeful accused of sexually assaulting six women.
The jurors listed each piece of evidence neatly on a 6-by-4 foot chalkboard in a Brigham City courthouse and debated: Why would a woman freeze in place instead of fighting off an attacker? Why would another wait years to tell police? Without DNA evidence, was it clear that then-Utah State University linebacker Torrey Green was the one who did it?
On Friday evening, after more than 16 hours of deliberation, the panel of five men and three women reached the unanimous decision that Green raped or assaulted each of half a dozen women. Most, if not all eight on the jury, shed tears in that moment and cried again after the verdict was read by a judge.
None would do it over again, according to one juror, who described the process in an interview with the Deseret News.
"It was grueling. Because in the end, there were no winners," he said.
The women may have a sense of closure, but several developed post-traumatic stress disorder from the assaults, he noted. And Green, despite his crimes, proved he comes from a good family and does have good qualities, said the juror, a father in his 30s who asked that his name be withheld.
"We were all shedding tears for him and his family. Nobody saw this as an evil person who was beyond all hope," he said. One victim testified that Green stopped grinding his body against hers when she asked him what his mother would think, showing the juror that "he's still not to the evil point where nothing can reach his heart."
"I think it was hard for everybody to comprehend that you could get to a point where you could completely ignore somebody else's pain, yet still be somebody who responds when they say, 'What would your mother say?'"
The verdicts returned by the jury also reflect a large cultural change, he said.
Four of the women first met Green through the app Tinder, often seen as a way to meet others for casual sex. Thirty or 40 years ago, if a woman had agreed to meet a man under those circumstances, a court might find it wasn't rape, the juror noted.
"Through the way our culture is slowly changing, we came to the conclusion that a woman is not required to fight, kick, pinch — whatever — to stop her abuser." The panel considered an expert's testimony that sexual assault victims often freeze in place, instead of a fight-or-flight response.
Taking part in the painstaking decision has given the juror more faith in the justice system and shown him that people are more complicated than he realized, including Green.
Many of the women said they didn't want to go straight to Green's apartment or watch a scary movie, but he persuaded them to comply, the juryman noted.
"And that was telling to me, that this man got to a point where he felt like he could get anybody, any one of these girls, to do whatever he wanted. And so I came away with that — feeling extremely hypersensitive now to making sure I don't step on other people's boundaries. And that could be at the grocery store, or with people at work, people of the same sex and opposite sex."
Green violated not only the lines drawn by six women and the law, but the principles his family and coaches taught him, he said.
The juror and others on the panel often wished they were seated for a murder or theft case, instead of allegations that largely pitted the women's testimony against Green's, he said.
"What we had to evaluate were the effects of the alleged crime on the victim, their families and those around them. So that became a part of how we decided, but we didn't feel like just because someone had suffered through something very tragic, that suffering alone was enough to prove somebody guilty."
He spoke broadly about the cases, but said he believed the eight may have reached a different conclusion overall if not for one woman who went to police soon after Green raped her. Her documented report allowed them to listen to a phone call police recorded between her and Green, in which Green stated he didn't believe she was the type of girl to report he took advantage of her.
"We had evidence to review, and there were certain things that just came up and made it clear what had happened," the juryman said. For the women who told authorities months or years later, he said "we had to judge motive as to, why are they reporting now? What took them so long?"
Deliberations spanned two entire workdays because jurors revisited every single piece of evidence prosecutors and Green's defense attorney brought forward, debating just how convincing each was, the juror said.
He had believed the group of eight, all roughly from the same area, would draw the same conclusions after days of testimony from Green and the women. But each saw the evidence differently based on their own experiences, including traumatic ones, he said. Even those who at first felt strongly one way or the other recognized the need to sift through each bit of information.
"I came away feeling much confidence in our legal system, that people could be brought in and whittled down to a select few who could represent an open mind and an open heart to decide cases of pretty heavy magnitude."6 comments on this story
Green was found guilty of five counts of rape, one count of object rape, forcible sexual abuse and sexual battery, all felonies.
He was acquitted of three charges: another count of object rape, aggravated kidnapping and another count of forcible sexual abuse. The juror shied away from discussing those charges.
Green's attorney, Skye Lazaro, released a prepared statement Saturday saying she is disappointed by the outcome but praising the jurors for their hard work, noting she expects her client "will consider all post-conviction options at the appropriate time."
Sentencing is March 27.