A 12-member DuPage County jury needed less than an hour Thursday evening to find Jose Ramirez-Alcantar not guilty of criminal sexual assault.
Ramirez-Alcantar, 62, of the 30W300 block of Pomeroy Street near West Chicago, was charged with raping a 42-year-old Aurora woman at his home after a night of drinking at a popular Aurora bar on March 2, 2013.
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"(Ramirez-Alcantar) is overcome with emotion," Assistant Public Defender Kimberly Gonzalez said after the verdict's reading. "The police jumped to the wrong conclusion. My client is innocent and that bore out today. He can now begin the process of rebuilding his life after being incarcerated for more than a year."
Thursday's acquittal came just hours after a day of testimony during which the bar owner, who the woman said served her a large alcoholic beverage that night, testified that he was in Ohio. A DuPage County DNA Forensic Technology supervisor testified that a thorough examination of the woman's sexual assault kit -- including several swabs -- showed no signs of semen, and that swabs taken from Ramirez-Alcantar's genitals immediately after the encounter also showed no DNA other than his own.
The accuser testified Wednesday that she felt "bad" and "dizzy" after returning to her drink that she left unattended to dance and talk with friends at the bar. Her memory of the night was fuzzy after that, remembering only not being able to walk and being "forced" into a pickup truck by Ramirez-Alcantar and one of his two roommates.
"She doesn't know what happened that night because she was drunk," Gonzalez said during her closing arguments. "That's her alcohol. That's what's in play here."
The next thing the accuser said she remembered was being dropped to her knees and dragged into Ramirez-Alcantar's home where she said she remembered two sets of hands fondling her and removing her pants and underwear.
"I told him, 'I don't want sex. I don't want sex,'" she testified. "But he held me down and said, 'Let me do this. Let it happen.'"
Prosecutors say the two men made so much noise when they came home at 2:18 a.m. and kicked the front door in that the third man in the home called 911 to report an intruder.
West Chicago police officers who responded to the call testified they heard the woman's "faint cries" grow louder. After confirming what they heard with other officers, they kicked the bedroom door in and found Ramirez-Alcantar on top of the woman.
The woman testified she did not know officers were in the home until they kicked down the bedroom door.
"This is a case about regret -- regret about drinking too much, regret about bad choices and regret about having to explain to friends and family about why she was in a strange man's home at 2 a.m.," Gonzalez said during closing arguments. "It's easier to believe she was forced to have sex. Otherwise, what does that make her?"
Ramirez-Alcantar, who was previously convicted of aggravated battery in Kane County, faced between four and 15 years in prison, had he been convicted.