"Safari Joe" Found Not Guilty of Rape and Molestation

A high profile legal case involving a familiar name is over. Joe Estes also known as "Safari Joe" stood before a Mayes County jury Friday, where they found him not guilty of child sex abuse.

The trial stated Monday morning with jury selection. The state asked for guilty verdicts and a 10-year sentence with the Department of Corrections. After three days, the jury deliberated for less than two hours.

"The jury has been listening to evidence all week, very continently and diligently, they deliberated and returned a verdict of not guilty on both counts," Assistant District Attorney Mayes County Marny Hill said.

The acquittal comes one year after Estes was charged with one count of lewd molestation and one count rape by instrumentation involving his ex-girlfriends daughter and her friend. The state did bring two other women to the stand trying to show a pattern of Estes's behavior.

"We had four of the most extraordinarily brave young women that I have seen in 17 years come forward and be able to have their day in court," Hill said.

Estes does face a charge in another case. He's charged with raping a woman, not a child, by instrumentation and is scheduled to be back in court September 9th.