Henderson guilty in 3 rapes, jury finds

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An Allegheny County jury found a man representing himself in three separate rape cases guilty on all counts related to the rapes.

The jury acquitted Arthur Henderson, 39, on charges related to a mugging.

Henderson told the jury this morning that there was "not one piece of physical evidence" against him although DNA samples linking him to each woman were taken as evidence.

"All they did was make allegations and accusations against me," he said.

During an hour-long closing argument that rambled at times and became animated at others, the defendant told the jury that there was a conspiracy against him.

He was convicted of raping three women -- one in Hopewell and two in Ross -- between Jan. 7-9, 2012.

In addition, Henderson was acquitted in the mugging of a man with whom he played poker, beating him and stealing about $4,500.

Henderson said it would have been impossible for him to get from Hopewell, where the first victim was attacked about 7:45 a.m. on Jan. 7, to Ross by 9 a.m. when the second woman was assaulted.

"How am I in Woodhawk Apartments at 9 a.m.? How?" Henderson asked, his voice raised. "It don't make sense. It don't add up. You know why? Because it didn't happen that morning because I didn't rape them. That's why. Even a blind man could see it. I'm being set up."

Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka scoffed at Henderson's argument.

She outlined the evidence against him -- a vehicle matching his following the first victim home from the Rivers Casino; that same vehicle seen on traffic cameras on McKnight Road in Ross; the same clothing and pattern of behavior at each scene; the identification of Henderson made by a mugging victim and that his DNA matched that found on the victims.

Forensic scientists testified during the trial that the chances that the DNA found on the victims belonged to someone matching Henderson's profile would be between 1 in 1 quintillion and 1 in 8 quintillion.

"Don't be confused by the sometimes circus-like presentation of the defendant," Ms. Ditka said. "The testimony of a victim alone is enough to convict."

But, she continued, the commonwealth went much further than the burden required by the law of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"You have [guilt] beyond all doubt. You have beyond a quintillion of doubt," she said.

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Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620. First Published February 11, 2013 6:15 PM


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