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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Preliminary Hearing: Richmond, Calif. gang rape case

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My God!!! How awfull -- to read some of the gruesome details of this tragedy. Where are the other boys/men who did this? 20 minus 7 = 13!!! Where are they? Let the hunt continue.

Richmond officer's harrowing saga of gang rape
by Kevin Fagan
San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

MARTINEZ, Calif. -- A Richmond police officer choked up in court Monday as he described what he called one of the worst experiences in his career - finding the 16-year-old victim of last year's gang rape at Richmond High School slung half-naked over a bench, bloodied and vomiting while her alleged attackers ran from the scene.

"She was wet and clammy," Officer Todd Kaiser testified, struggling with his words and clenching his jaw. "I thought she was dead. The only thing touching the ground were the tops of her feet and the side of her face.

"I went up and shook her and she moaned a little bit."

The seven men accused of raping the girl Oct. 24, 2009, as she left a campus homecoming dance sat impassively while the officer spoke. And that's how they remained throughout a daylong preliminary hearing at Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez, which will determine if they will be held for trial on rape and robbery charges.

Six of the defendants could be sentenced to life in prison. They are Cody Smith, 16, of San Pablo; Ari Morales, 17, of San Pablo; Manuel Ortega, 20, of Richmond; Jose Montano, 19, of Richmond; Marcelles Peter, 18, of Pinole; and John Crane Jr., 43, of Richmond.

The seventh defendant, 23-year-old Elvis Torrentes of Richmond, faces charges including aiding the act of rape that could land him in prison for 26 years.

Most of the two dozen relatives of the suspects who attended the hearing declined to comment, and the victim's family apparently was not in court. She is not expected to testify.

"People were just mentioning names to save their own skin, but Elvis was not one of the people who did this," said Torrentes' brother, Raul Torrentes. "He left before things got started.

"Right now we're leaving it to the hands of God. We expect justice."

The preliminary hearing before Judge Gregory Caskey is expected to last one to three weeks.

Kaiser, the first witness to testify as the hearing began Monday, said he had found condom wrappers and the victim's underwear flung to the pavement. He told the court that the victim's father had arrived while the girl was at the rape site, waiting to be taken by helicopter to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

The father said he had been frantically calling his daughter for some time when he couldn't locate her after the dance, and that finally a male had picked up the phone, Kaiser testified.

"The male told him 'how good his daughter' performed sex acts," Kaiser said.

Kaiser's partner on the scene, Officer Gunnar Googins, testified that he had arrived a block from the school just after another officer caught Ortega running away.

"I went over to where (the other officer) and Ortega were, and he (Ortega) said, 'I just wanted to pimp her out,' " Googins testified. Ortega was drunk, he said.

Googins said he had asked Ortega "what he meant by 'pimping her out,' and he answered, 'Just go ahead and kill me.' He said it several times."

Ortega's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jack Funk, tried to question Googins about how intoxicated the victim was, with the idea of addressing whether she had consented to sex. The judge stopped him from doing so.

An empty brandy bottle was found at the scene, the officers testified, and Googins' incident report indicated that she seemed intoxicated.

Witnesses told police that as many as 20 people had participated in the two-hour rape, but only the seven in court Monday have been arrested.

The hearing will resume today.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My God, this is awful. What kind of people are these men. I hope they get them all and punish them.

Auntie T

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

I'm with you Auntie! It's horrific -- AND she's a child.