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SD work release inmate found not guilty of rape

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- A jury has cleared a South Dakota man accused of raping a woman while out of prison on work release.

Jurors on Wednesday night acquitted Henry Anfinson, 29, on rape and burglary charges after more than eight hours of deliberations, the Argus Leader reported.

His father, Ricky Anfinson, said after the verdict that he had been concerned about the outcome of the trial but never doubtful of the truth.

"Henry's a lot of things, but he's not a rapist," Ricky Anfinson said.

Henry Anfinson was accused of raping the ex-girlfriend of a former cellmate in the bathroom of her home while her 1- and 4-year-old children were in another room. Anfinson said the woman had invited him to her home, and that the two had consensual sex after he injected her with methamphetamine.

Anfinson, of Sioux Falls, had been in and out of prison for about eight years on drug, theft and forgery convictions when he was approved for work release in April 2012. He was allowed to start looking for a job the next month. Authorities said he went to the 31-year-old woman's home when he was released from prison for three hours to visit potential employers and forced his way in.

Prosecutors said Anfinson committed a brutal rape, taking advantage of a woman he had met through prison acquaintances because "he thought he could get away with it."

"A person in our community has suffered a crime at the hands of Henry Anfinson," Minnehaha County Deputy State's Attorney Tom Hensley said during closing arguments to the jury. "Her station should not matter."

Defense attorney Michelle Thomas told jurors that if reasonable doubt exists, they should set Anfinson free.

"In a case like this, alleging violent sexual assault, we ought to err on the side of caution," she said.

Anfinson testified in his own defense, saying the woman had reported a rape because she was upset with him for hiding her drugs, which he said he did to stop her from doing more damage to herself. He also described how he injected methamphetamine into the woman, even after Judge Patricia Riepel stopped him, sent the jury out of the courtroom and explained to him and his lawyers that he was opening himself up to new charges.

Hensley told jurors to discount Anfinson's talk of drugs, saying the investigating officers found no evidence of drug use on the day of the incident. He also questioned Anfinson's character, saying Anfinson had frequent rule violations in prison and routinely had lied to prison officials. Thomas said the facts of the case did not back up the woman's description of a violent rape.