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Jury Deliberation Begins After Kevin Olsen Declines To Testify

Kevin Olsen

Jurors will continue deliberations in the rape trial of Kevin Olsen Tuesday morning. After deliberating for a couple of hours Monday, they asked Superior Court Judge Karen Eady-Williams to take the night. In their note, jurors said they weren’t any closer to a unanimous consensus and didn’t know when they would be. 

The defense rested its case in the morning after Olsen’s defense lawyer George Laughrun told the judge the former UNC Charlotte quarterback would not testify. 

Judge Eady-Williams asked Olsen if he had thought over his decision and discussed it with his lawyer. Olsen said he had.  Olsen, who is the brother of Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, is charged with three counts of second degree rape and one count of sexual offense of his then-girlfriend in February of 2017.

After Olsen declined to testify, closing arguments began.

Laughrun pointed to Olsen multiple times as he addressed the jury.

“This is a trial by text message,” Laughrun said. He recounted the various texts sent by Olsen’s former girlfriend, which he argued proves she was out to seek revenge against Olsen.

Laughrun described the investigation conducted by CMPD as a “rush job” and questioned why the lead detective on the case, Christina Cougill, never stepped a foot inside of Olsen’s house to collect any evidence. The defense lawyer described the sexual assault exam conducted by Atrium nurse Taneika Torres as “sloppy.”

Laughrun also said Olsen’s accuser had inconsistencies and gaps in her memory — not because she was traumatized from an assault, but because it never happened.

Assistant District Attorney Kristen Northrup reminded jurors of the woman’s injuries, she says, she received from Olsen the night of the incident: a black eye and bruises on her arms. Photographs of those injuries were once again shown to the jury as Northup spoke.

According to Northrup, Olsen’s accuser said she felt like she had been through a car accident after Olsen hit her repeatedly. She argued that this woman was frozen with fear and couldn’t say the word “no” when Olsen assaulted her.

“Consent induced by fear is not consent at law,” Northrup said multiple times.

Northrup also argued the defense was withholding Olsen’s side of text message exchanges that looked unfavorable to his accuser.

She pointed to a text Olsen sent the afternoon after the alleged assault occurred. The message read, “I need to see you one last time.”

Olsen sent this text, Northrup pointed out, before CMPD contacted him to come down to the police station for an interview. Northrup said this was the text of someone who was feeling guilt and who knew they did something wrong.

Jury deliberations began Monday afternoon. 

Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.