Testimony begins in trial of Rutgers student whose gay roommate committed suicide

Fri. February 24, 2012 11:24 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

Newark, N.J. - Rutgers student Dharun Ravi was actually worried about his gay roommate Tyler Clementi's safety, defense attorneys argued on Friday, and that's why Ravi used a webcam to spy while he kissed an older man.

A few days later, Clementi committed suicide.

Ravi is accused of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, a hate crime-like charge that could bring him 10 years in prison.

Ravi and Clementi had a stilted relationship as roommates in September of 2010, with Ravi telling friends Clementi was socially awkward.

Things got much worse when Clementi brought home an older man and asked Ravi to stay away until midnight. Ravi turned on the webcam and tweeted: "I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."

But on Friday, defense attorneys said that Ravi was not homophobic. In fact, they argued, Ravi was actually worried about Clementi, with other witnesses describing the man he was caught kissing as "creepy," "shady looking," "homeless" and "scruffy."

Prosecutors aren't buying it.

"The defendant's acts were not a prank," said prosecutor Julia McClure, according to the NY Post. "They were malicious."

Two students who saw the live webcam feed that night testified on Friday. Both said they did not hear Ravi say anything homophobic.