The jury considering sex-assault charges against former University of Hawaii student Tyler Strong was instructed Tuesday afternoon to begin deliberations over after a juror was excused and replaced.
Circuit Court Judge Randal Lee excused a female juror Tuesday afternoon, as jury deliberations continued for a second day without a verdict. She’s been replaced with an alternate female juror, who sat through the trial.
The jury, which is made up of eight women and four men, was instructed around 2 p.m. to restart deliberations with the alternate.
This is the second juror to be excused since the trial started March 12. A day into the trial, Lee excused a male juror due to a medical condition and replaced him with an alternate.
Strong, 19, is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, which carries a mandatory 20-year prison sentence, and one count of third-degree sexual assault, which carries up to five years in prison, for an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of Sept. 21 in his UH-Manoa dorm room.
The state had argued that Strong, who now lives in Eugene, Ore., forced himself on an 18-year-old woman and raped her amid her pleas for him to stop.
The woman testified through tears that she told him to stop six times.
Strong testified during the trial that the sex was consensual and that she never told him "no" or to stop at any time. She "was being very passionate with me," he said.
The woman said that after a night of partying and drinking, she went over to Strong’s room expecting she might make-out with him to get back at another guy she liked — Strong’s next-door neighbor — who she had fought with earlier in the night.
When asked what she thought was going to happen in his room, the woman said, "Kissing and cuddling was probably a possibility for that night. … It was kind of like, like a revenge thing."
Strong said the woman came over to his room around 5 a.m. Sept. 21 after he sent her text messages including, "Baby I wanna give it to you come back," and "Baby hurry."
"I wanted to sleep with her," Strong said of the text messages.
Strong said after they had sex, she "began to cry out of nowhere" and abruptly left.
Jury deliberations are scheduled to resume Wednesday morning.