VERDICT: Henry, Lherisson GUILTY of forcing Delray teens into sex

Defendant Francisco Henry (above) and Massillon Lherisson (not pictured) sit in court today as a victim testified in the sexual assault case against the two men at the Palm Beach County Courthouse July 9, 2012.

Defendant Francisco Henry (above) and Massillon Lherisson (not pictured) sit in court today as a victim testified in the sexual assault case against the two men at the Palm Beach County Courthouse July 9, 2012.

UPDATE 5:31 p.m.: It took jurors about an hour Wednesday to decide to convict Francisco Henry and Massillon Lherisson of 24 charges – including armed robbery, armed rape and false imprisonment charges – in connection with the bizarre 2010 robbery where fourt teens were forced to perform sex acts on each other.

Henry, 26, tilted his head back as the verdicts were read against him. Lherisson, having heard the guilty verdicts against Henry before a court clerk read his own convictions, stood stoically as the verdicts were read against him. The 25-year-old kept his eyes on the three men and three women on the jury.

The verdicts mean both men, whose first trial ended in mistrial four years ago, could face up to life in prison when Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes sentences them next month.

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: Jurors just announce that they’ve reached a verdict in the retrial of two men accused of forcing four Atlantic High School students into sex acts in an abandoned Delray Beach home in 2010.

The verdict came about an hour after Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes sent jurors to begin deciding the case.

Attorneys have just returned to the courtroom.

 

ORIGINAL POST: The text message, written with both street slang and text abbreviations, had clear instructions for its recipient:

“Cum to da trap asap wt da fye thru da fnt doe asap kum naw wt da fye,” the sender wrote.

In closing arguments in Francisco Henry and Massillon Lherisson’s rape and robbery trial Wednesday, Assistant State Attorney Jo Wilensky that Lherisson sent that message to Henry to get him to bring “fye” – street slang for a gun – to an abandoned Delray Beach house where they robbed and forced four Atlantic High School students into sex acts.

Wilensky and fellow prosecutor Chrichet Mixon both used phone records between Henry and Lherisson, and the victims’ identifications of them, in their last attempts Wednesday to convince jurors to convict them of 24 charges that include armed sexual battery, armed robbery and false imprisonment.

“Those kids lives are forever changed by what they were made to do,” Mixon said.

The fact that both men disconnected their phones

Henry’s attorneys, Joseph Walsh and Crystal Kim, and Lherisson’s attorney, Joshua LeRoy. used the phone records conversely to tell jurors that even if prosecutors could link the phones to the men, they didn’t prove any wrongdoing.

Defendants Massillon Lherisson (above) and Francisco Henry (not pictured) sit in court today as a victim testified in the sexual assault case against the two men at the Palm Beach County Courthouse Monday, July 9, 2012.

Defendants Massillon Lherisson (above) and Francisco Henry (not pictured) sit in court today as a victim testified in the sexual assault case against the two men at the Palm Beach County Courthouse Monday, July 9, 2012.

“Fye,” Walsh told jurors,  is also a term to describe good marijuana, and Henry used to sell marijuana. And even the one victim who said he knew Henry because he’d purchased marijuana from him couldn’t point him out in the courtroom last week until near the end of his testimony.

If the two men were forcing the teens to perform sex acts on one another, LeRoy said, then why did none of the victims recall either of the assailants ever taking a phone call when phone records show both held phone conversations at the time the victims say the attack occurred?

Walsh and LeRoy both spoke about Spencer Britt, a man initially arrested in the attack but released after one of the victims came forward and said he wasn’t involved.

Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes sent jurors to begin deliberations just after 4 p.m.

If convicted as charged, both men face up to life in prison. This is the second trial in four years on the case. A first trial in 2012 ended in a mistrial.