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Jury convicts Grand Forks man for rape, assault

Orlando Joseph Brown

GRAND FORKS -- A jury convicted a Grand Forks man of aggravated assault and two counts of rape Thursday, Feb. 14, upon the conclusion of a three-day trial. They deliberated for just under two hours.

Each gross sexual imposition charge against Orlando Joseph Brown holds a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life. The felony aggravated assault charge holds a maximum of five years behind bars.

During the trial, jurors heard testimony from the responding police officer, two detectives, a sexual assault nurse examiner, the property manager of an apartment where the assault took place, the defendant’s sister, the victim and Brown.

Attorneys from both sides agreed Thursday during closing arguments that the case is about “complications, consistency and credibility,” though they disagreed about which witnesses deserved the jury’s trust.

Public Defender Patricia Castro pointed out in her closing statement the victim was unable to recall details several times during testimony and some elements of her story changed, such as where she was in the apartment when she was choked and how many times she blacked out.

Assistant State’s Attorney Andrew Eyre asked jurors to remember testimony from the sexual assault nurse and Detective Robert Starr, as they both stated victims of sexual trauma often remember more details as time passes. Eyre also noted that a significant amount of time had passed since the assault and trial.