ELKHORN

A Walworth County jury Tuesday convicted a man of crashing his friend’s car into a tree, running naked near the UW-Whitewater campus and trying to sexually assault a woman who gave him clothes—all while high on acid.

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for less than 40 minutes before finding Chidiebele P. Ozodi, now 21, of South Milwaukee guilty of attempted second-degree sexual assault, operating a motor vehicle without owner consent and disorderly conduct for the series of incidents Oct. 4.

During closing arguments Tuesday, Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld said drugs do not excuse Ozodi’s behavior, and he should be held accountable. Ozodi chose to use drugs, Wiedenfeld said.

The attempted sexual assault charge required Wiedenfeld to prove intent, and he said Ozodi showed intent when he announced to the woman who gave him clothes that he was going to have sex with her and later asked a nurse to perform a sex act on him.

An analyst testified that drugs don’t make people commit crimes, but they do make it easier for people to make bad choices, Wiedenfeld said.

“And that’s what the defendant did,” he said. “And I’m not saying he’s a horrible monster of a person, but I am saying he needs to take responsibility for his actions.”

Ozodi’s attorney, Mackenzie Renner, conceded Ozodi should be convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. She called his actions “inappropriate” and “absolutely” disorderly.

She recited a few of the nonsensical things Ozodi said that day—including “Are you God?” and “Is there a baby coming out of me?”—and argued he did not intend to commit the felonies for which he was charged.

“When we started this trial yesterday, I told you you’re going to hear some weird things that were being said by Mr. Ozodi,” Renner said Tuesday. “But this case isn’t just about what’s being said. It’s not about words. It’s not about doing weird things. It’s about intent.”

Renner argued if Ozodi intended to sexually assault the victim, he would not have put on the clothes she gave him. She added that he didn’t try to take the woman to a more secluded area, but rather remained near the intramural fields on campus.

Renner also said Ozodi and his friends had taken each other’s cars before, so using the car he crashed on Starin Road was not unusual.

But Wiedenfeld pointed to testimony from the friend, who said he wanted people to ask before borrowing his car.

Blaming the drug for his actions equated to Ozodi asking for a “free pass,” Wiedenfeld said.

After the jury returned its verdicts, Judge Kristine Drettwan ruled there had been enough evidence to convict Ozodi of intoxicated driving, reckless driving and hit-and-run.

Ozodi will be sentenced on the criminal convictions at 9 a.m. March 23.

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