MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A jury in a Mobile County courtroom found the former Spring Hill College soccer star not guilty of rape after an 8-day trial.
Vassil Kokali, a foreign student from Italy who was studying at Spring Hill College on a soccer scholarship, was found not guilty in Mobile County District Court on three counts including rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree and burglary.
After the verdict, Kokali spoke outside of the courtroom. He said he was grateful for the outcome of the verdict and thanked God, his friends and family for their support since March of 2021. Kokali hopes he can move on from the trial and “maybe keep looking for redemption.”
Kokali’s lawyer said character testimony and Kokali’s testimony were the strongest pieces of evidence used in the trial.
“I think the jury saw it that way,” said Kokali’s lawyer. “It’s not illegal to have sex with someone while youre under the influence of alcohol and I think that was made very clear through the course of this trial.”
The jury, which consisted of 7 women and 5 men, deliberated Thursday afternoon after the prosecution and defense gave closing arguments earlier that morning.
Four alternates, 3 men and 1 woman, were dismissed before the deliberations began.
The jury arrived at the unanimous verdict after deliberating for about an hour and a half.
The trial began on June 7.
Kokali was accused of raping fellow student Audrey Cox in her dorm room back in March 2021 after a night of drinking downtown.
Typically in rape cases, we don’t identify the victim, but Cox has spoken out and done interviews with WKRG in the past about the allegations.
Defense attorneys Megan Doggett and Dom Soto argued that the sexual encounter Kokali and Cox had was consensual. They presented evidence that Cox had asked Kokali to come back to her dorm room on the night in question and have sex with her.
Evidence presented by the defense during the trial also sought to undermine Cox’s character. The defense depicted Cox as a party girl who has no credibility.
They showed video of Cox during the trial, which was taken about a year prior to March 21, that showed Cox and others at Spring Hill College doing recreational drugs.
Doggett also argued that Cox initiated a false social media campaign against Kokali to smear his reputation and become a “Me Too” champion.
Prosecutors presented evidence that the sexual encounter was intense, at one point showing an extension cord with blood on it that was analyzed and linked back to Kokali’s DNA.
Kokali’s attorneys testified he had fallen off the bed while switching positions and cut his foot causing it to bleed.
Cox’s T.V. was also knocked onto the floor of her dorm room.
Prosecutors also argued that Cox was too intoxicated to consent to sexual intercourse with Kokali that night.
They showed surveillance video of her entering her residence hall after coming home from the bar that depicted her as intoxicated.
Prosecutors also called a student to the stand who testified he helped Cox get home that night because he believed she was too drunk to get herself back to her dorm.
Both Kokali and Cox took the stand during the 8-day trial and testified about the details of that night.