DALLAS -- With a Dallas County jury’s verdict, Joseph Beaty became the first man to be identified and convicted as a result of the Dallas Police Department’s cold case rape kit testing program.
The 12-membery jury sentenced Beaty to life in prison for a 2009 rape. They found him guilty within 40 minutes.
Beaty, 42, came to the attention of Dallas police after the department began testing old rape kits in 2015. That testing linked him to five sexual assault cases dating back as far as 2008. Several of the women took the stand during his trial.
“These women were consistent in the fact that he chose them,” prosecutor Amy Derrick told jurors. “He uses a knife on them, then he picks them up in his car and takes them to secluded area so that he can vaginally rape them.”
Derrick described Beaty as a man who preyed on “the weak” and “vulnerable.” Several of the women he was accused of raping were prostitutes. One of them was a woman that lived in a halfway house that Beaty co-owned. Another woman said she was leaving a club when Beaty pulled her into a car and raped her in 2008.
Beaty was convicted in a 2009 rape in which a woman told police that Beaty picked her up and promised to pay for sex. The woman testified that he pulled a knife on her and choked her to the point that she blacked out.
Beaty denied sexually assaulting the woman, but acknowledged that he had an addiction to prostitutes during police interrogations.
“I’m not the kind of guy who forcibly assaults,” he told a Dallas police detective. “Like I said, you can ask my wife.”
He couldn't explain why so many women had made similar allegations against him.
“I’m sure he thought that no one would ever believe him, but ladies and gentleman of the jury you can believe them,” Derrick said.
Beaty was briefly set free in January after an appeals court concluded he was indigent and couldn't come up with the money for $250,000 in bonds. He had been in jail since August 2015.
State District Judge Rick Magnis ordered Beaty's arrest after evidence came to light that he was trying to tamper with his electronic monitor and had been seen walking in the neighborhood in violation of the conditions of his house arrest.
His defense attorneys, Larry Baraka and Jasmine Crockett, tried to convince jurors that the women had falsely claimed rape because he had refused to pay them.
Prosecutors scoffed at the idea.
“Do you really think all of the women would come up and conspire to create such a conspiracy against this man?” said prosecutor Leighton D’Antoni.
It took jurors just 40 minutes to convict him. During the punishment phase, Crockett sought to play on the sympathies of jurors, asking that they consider Beaty’s wife and kids.
“My client engaged in terrible decision-making for sure,” Crockett said. “It’s heartbreaking to know that because of his bad decisions that she’s got to suffer. I’ve never pretended that he was a Boy Scout because he’s not.”
His wife did not take the stand to testify on his behalf as she had done in prior hearings.
Jurors also learned that Beaty had been previously convicted of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. They also heard from the woman who said she was raped in the halfway house.
The woman, a recovering addict, said Beaty gave her tequila and marijuana. She testified that she passed out and woke up with no pants and bleeding vaginally. She says she was shocked because she trusted him.
During police interrogations, Beaty told police that he had provided alcohol and had sex with her. He claimed the sex was consensual.
He sat crying after her testimony.
After she took the stand, the woman said she decided to testify because she felt it was her duty. She also said that she hadn't had a drink since that night more than two years ago.
“There needs to be justice and so I needed to do my part,” she said. “In his eyes, we were nothing. He felt he could do what he wanted to do. I don’t see that changing and I think honestly he’s a threat to society.”
© 2018 WFAA-TV