Jury convicts Melanie Curtin of raping unconscious victim at deputy's home
LIVINGSTON – A Livingston Parish jury on Friday found Melanie Curtin guilty of aggravated rape and video voyeurism after about seven hours of deliberation.
The jury convened around 11 a.m. Friday after two hours of emotional closing arguments, during which Curtin, 42, fought to hold back tears. The jury finally returned with a verdict around 6:30 Friday night.
Curtin erupted into screams when jurors announced the decision to convict her and had to be removed from the courtroom. She was immediately remanded into custody to await sentencing.
Curtin was accused of helping former Livingston Parish sheriff’s deputy Dennis Perkins record a 17-minute video showing the rape of an unconscious victim in 2014.
The jury's discussion took several hours, with jurors emerging at one point Friday to ask the judge to let them review the graphic video.
The victim on Thursday testified that she had no recollection of that night and was not aware the video existed until 2019, when it emerged as part of an investigation into Perkins by the state Attorney General’s Office.
“When I saw parts of the video, I wanted to literally die,” the victim said from the stand.
WBRZ is not identifying her since she is the victim of a sex crime.
The victim testified she was drinking with Curtin and Perkins and woke up the next morning with a hangover but no memory of what happened that night.
A defense attorney claims Curtin was drugged at the time of the rape in which she allegedly participated, but no evidence was gathered that could verify that assertion.
“Amnesia is not a defense to a crime,” prosecutors said Friday during their closing arguments.
Her sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 24.
The Louisiana attorney general's office, which led the prosecution against Curtin, released the following statement Friday night.
"Today, justice was served to Melanie Curtin by a jury of her peers in Livingston Parish. I pray her conviction provides some healing and closure to the crime victim.
This jury’s verdict is the culmination of bravery by the crime victim; an exceptional prosecution by my Assistant Attorneys General Barry Milligan and Erica McLellan; a great investigation by Special Agent Gene Guidry, Forensic Analyst Brian Wilson, and our Cyber Crime Unit; and excellent work by Victims Advocate Kristen Martin, Supervisory Special Agent Andrew Bergeron, and Special Agent Ashley Borel.
My office will continue to do all we can to make Louisiana a safer place to live, work, worship, and raise families."
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