Jury Recommends Life For Tulsa Man Who Raped LaFortune Park Jogger
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa jury recommends life in prison for a convicted serial rapist Friday. Willis McPherson attacked and sexually assaulted two women in 2012.
The jury found that Willis McPherson, who also goes by Willis Sisco, raped two women a few days apart back in February 2012.
It took the jury just over an hour to hand out their verdict - guilty on all nine counts ranging from rape to assault with a dangerous weapon.
Prosecutors are happy the jury recommended consecutive life sentences.
Prosecutor Michelle Keely, said, "We had two women who were victims of a serial rapist and they, together, assisted in protecting our community."
McPherson sat through four days of hearings and testimony in a Tulsa County Courtroom. Prosecutors accused him of two rapes, two years ago.
Prosecutor Erik Grayless, said, "Closure is huge for the victims. They are able to put this chapter behind; they are able to see him walk out of the courtroom, in handcuffs, knowing he will never be able to victimize them or anyone else again."
Prosecutors presented DNA evidence taken from a jogger who was attacked and assaulted by McPherson in Tulsa's LaFortune Park. She also identified him as the man who attacked her.
They said, within the same time frame, McPherson raped another woman at an apartment just four miles from the park.
McPherson's family spoke about Friday's verdict. His sister, Ashley Gordon, doesn't think her brother had a fair trial, calling into question some of the evidence.
Regarding a piece of evidence that was lost two years ago, Gordon said, "Why didn't they label it? Why didn't they put a social security number? Why didn't they put his name on it? I don't think that's fair."
Prosecutors admitted a piece of evidence was lost two years ago during the investigation, but said it was a technicality, and it's not what proved McPherson's guilt.
"They chose to focus on one mistake by the police. Police did a good job in this case and they deserve credit, along with the security guard, for catching this criminal," Grayless said.
Keely said, "It sends a message to Tulsa that says, 'we care, don't commit crimes in our neighborhood and don't commit crimes in our community, and if you commit a crime and it's a violent crime, we will sentence you accordingly,"
McPherson's defense didn't comment on Friday's verdict. Formal sentencing is scheduled for the end of March.