MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A jury found Vassil Kokali not guilty on all charges on Thursday.
The former Spring Hill College student was charged with raping a fellow student in March 2021.
The jury reached its verdict after about 90 minutes of deliberations.
Kokali was emotional after hearing that verdict.
He said, “It’s done, finally, so I’m just very happy”
Speaking moments after his acquittal, Kokali fought back tears.
“I’m just very grateful to God and for the truth to finally come out and I I’m just very upset that I had to go through all this. I hope that what happened to me can help people that are falsely accused in the future,” said Kokali.
After hours of testimony over eight days, the jury found Kokali not guilty on rape, sodomy, burglary and other lesser charges.
The jury was comprised of seven women and five men,
Kokali, an Italian citizen at Spring Hill on a soccer scholarship, was accused of raping fellow student, Audrey Cox, in her dorm room last year after a night out in Downtown Mobile. Cox had previously gone public with her allegations.
Prosecutors argued Kokali broke the law when he entered Cox’s room without her permission, took off her clothes and sexually assaulted her.
Prosecutors said Cox was unconscious and that Kokali has a pattern because another Spring Hill college student testified he sexually assaulted her months earlier.
The defense countered all of those claims and argued it was just college kids being drunk, going out and hooking up.
Megan Doggett, Kokali’s attorney said, “I think the jury saw it that way. It’s not illegal to have sex with someone while you’re under the influence of alcohol.”
Assistant district attorney Johana Bucci admitted the case was an uphill battle from the start and that they respect the jury’s decision.
Bucci said Cox broke down following the verdict.
“She’s had an emotional two weeks. She’s had an emotional 15 months since this happened and it all kind of came to a head today. I think she learned a lot in this trial and she’s gonna have to pick her head up and just keep moving forward. She’s a strong woman. She’ll do it,” said Bucci.
Kokali faced 10 years to life in prison.
Now that he’s free, he said he plans to go back to Italy.
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