Ravi Convicted in Clementi 'Spycam' Trial, Faces Prison
Dharun Ravi targeted roommate Tyler Clementi because he was gay, jury finds.
A Middlesex County jury found Dharun Ravi guilty Friday on 23 counts in the Rutgers webcam spying case that may have led to the suicide of Ridgewood native Tyler Clementi in fall of 2010.
Ravi, 20, was convicted on the most serious charges of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy and faces a possible 10-year prison sentence. He could also be deported to India after serving time in prison.
The jury agreed with prosecutors that Ravi targeted Clementi, his 18-year-old roommate, because Clementi was gay. Ravi showed little emotion after hearing the jury determine his fate, ultimately convicting him on 24 of 35 charges contained in 15 counts.
Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge days after discovering Ravi attempted to view him in a romantic encounter with another man, inviting others to watch at a "viewing party." He was not charged with contributing to Clementi's death.
Prosecutors said Ravi set up a webcam on his computer, went to another room and viewed Clementi and the man, identified as M.B., shirtless and kissing. Ravi tweeted about the encounter and days later attempted to film the two again, but Clementi discovered the camera and disabled it.
Ravi later deleted the tweets and was also convicted Friday of witness tampering and attempting to destroy evidence.
Ravi, who had no criminal history prior to his conviction, was presented by the defense as a foolish teenager who made a mistake. His attorney, Steve Altman, said Ravi was concerned Clementi's lover would steal Ravi's iPod.
The defense on cross examination asked Ravi's dormmates if he'd ever expressed hatred toward gays or Clementi. They responded they did not, though Ravi reportedly told a high school friend his webcam would "keep the gays away."
Tyler Clementi's father Joseph addressed the media after the verdict on Friday, thanking the judge, prosecutor and victim advocacy groups for their involvement.
He called the trial "painful."
Ravi is scheduled to be sentenced Monday, May 21. He remains free on bail.