Jury declared Dharun Ravi guilty of invasion of privacy and hate crime on Friday in the tragic suicide of teenage boy Tyler Clementi. The sentencing is set for May 21 and Ravi could face up to 10 years behind bars.
After deliberating for 12 hours for more than two days, a New Brunswick, New Jersey, jury declared 20-year-old ex-Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi guilty of invasion of privacy for spying on his roommate, Tyler Clementi. The jury of seven women and five men also convicted him of tampering with physical evidence and hindering apprehension. As the verdict was read Friday, Clementi's parents wept while Ravi sat emotionless in the courtroom.
The 15-count indictment also includes several bias intimidation charges, because prosecutors claimed Dharun Ravi was motivated by a hatred for gay people and bullied Tyler Clementi. Several reports suggested that Ravi could be deported to his birth country of India.
Dharun Ravi did not speak during the trial and the only time jurors heard from him was in a taped interview with police. In that interview, Ravi admitted to violating Tyler Clementi's privacy, but said he was not expecting to capture an intimate moment. "I didn't realize it was something so private," he said.
The jury showed leniency to Molly Wei, who was involved with Dharun Ravi in spying on Tyler Clementi and her laptop was used to carry out the notorious plan. She was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and ordered to undergo counseling or training in cyber-bullying and work full time.
The tragic suicide case of Tyler Clementi dates back to September 20, 2010, when Dharun Ravi set up a live webcam in their dorm room and filmed Clementi making out with another man. Ravi later tweeted about the scene and invited others to watch Tyler Clementi with the unnamed man.
When Clementi learnt of the plan, he asked dormitory officials to change his room. However, only two days later, the 18-year-old jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge after leaving a note on Facebook that read, "Jumping off the gw bridge. Sorry."
Dharun Ravi will be sentenced on May 21 and can remain free until then, although starting March 30, he must check in with the court every two weeks until sentencing.
Tyler Clementi's suicide case, which came to be known as “Rutgers Webcam Spy”, became a national story and inspired the widely-popular "It Gets Better" campaign, aimed at ending teen bullying and preventing suicide among LGBT youth.