Jury finds Sloan guilty

ALBANY -- A jury pronounced Kelvin Sloan guilty on 18 of 19 counts after hearing final arguments in his conspiracy, armed robbery, aggravated assault and sexual battery case Wednesday.

"It took them 30 minutes," said Chris Cohilas, chief assistant district attorney for the Dougherty Judicial District.

"We had a rock-solid case," Cohilas said. "We had testimony from his co-defendant, corroborated by an eyewitness, in combination with his priors committed in a similar method."

Superior Court Judge Denise Marshall sentenced Sloan, 37, to prison for life without possibility of parole, Cohilas said by phone after the verdict.

"There was unrefuted testimony that the defendant committed the crimes," Cohilas said. "No witness came forward to say he was innocent."

A witness against Sloan was his co-defendant Erick Bowen. Bowen was sent to prison previously in connection with the robberies to serve a minimum of 18 years out of his maximum 40-year sentence. It was a plea bargain for his testimony.

According to Cohilas' summation, Sloan and Bowen were responsible for a series of armed robberies on North Cleveland Street and Stuart Avenue last spring. The victims were bound with duct tape, threatened with guns and sexually assaulted.

The legal defense team of Jim Finkelstein and Howard Stiller tried to make the case that the testimony from Bowen was self-serving in a deal for lighter prison time.

In his summation, Finkelstein said the lack of fingerprints, guns, masks, clothing and other physical evidence linking Sloan to the crime should arouse reasonable doubt in the jury that his client was guilty.

The duo wore gloves and disposed of any physical evidence, Cohilas said. He requested the jury not reward the defendant for being good at hiding the evidence against him.

The jury followed Cohilas' evidence and arguments.