Published: June 14, 2013
A former translator for U.S. troops in Iraq was convicted of all counts in the brutal rape of a Colorado Springs woman who nearly died of her injuries.
Sarmad Fadhi "Levi" Mohammed, 26, of Colorado Springs, faces the potential of life in prison at a Sept. 16 sentencing.
The defendant - a native Iraqi brought to the U.S. with the help of military members - raised his eyebrows and looked around the sparsely attended courtroom in shock as 4th Judicial District Judge Theresa M. Cisneros announced the verdicts. A trio of supporters burst into tears. Mohammad said in court Friday he had decided against testifying because he believed the trial was going well for the defense.
The victim, a woman in her 50s who suffered what prosecutors called "horrific" and "unimaginable" injuries, wasn't present for the verdict.
Doctors said she could have died had she not been rushed into surgery.
The assault occurred early July 22 at a west-side apartment complex where Mohammed lived with three roommates, all Iraqis who fled their native country after assisting troops with combat operations.
The roommates each were charged as accessories to the crime because prosecutors say they lied to police about it afterward.
Two pleaded guilty to misdemeanors. One was found guilty of a misdemeanor by a jury that tossed all felony counts against him.
A co-defendant, Jasim Mohammed Hasin Ramadon, 21, is awaiting trial on allegations that he forced his hand into the woman's rectum after plying her with drink.
Although Mohammed isn't accused of causing her extensive injuries, jurors were told that he forced the woman to perform oral sex on him as Ramadon forced her to the floor and began raping her.
"We're certainly pleased with the verdict," said lead prosecutor Kelson Castain. He prosecuted the case with Michael Allen.
Defense attorneys Cynthia McKedy and Eric Anaya tried to persuade the jury the charges were the result of a botched investigation and statements that a friend of Mohammed's made to police as the result of a coercive interrogation. They declined to comment.
Ramadon's trial won't be scheduled until the Court of Appeals decides a challenge by prosecutors seeking to overturn a decision by Cisneros that tossed out key evidence in the case.