Two Attackers Guilty on All Counts in Teen’s Brutal 2009 Gang Rape Involving 20 Men outside High School Dance
Daily Mail (London), July 19, 2013
The mother of a girl who was brutally gang raped at her high school dance in 2009 wept in a packed courtroom as two of her daughter’s attackers were finally brought to justice.
Marcelles Peter, 20, was found guilty Thursday as part of the dual trial held in connection with the crime, whose young victim was discovered by police naked, bleeding, beaten and urinated on underneath a picnic table after her school dance. Her mother cried as Contra Costa County California Superior Court Judge Barbara Zuniga read the verdict.
The other man accused in the horrific two-hour attack, Jose Montano, 22, was also found guilty on all counts of rape in concert, oral copulation in concert, and sexual penetration with a foreign object in concert.
The two defendants were tried with two separate juries for the October 2009 crimes outside a Richmond, California high school. The victim, referred to only as Jane Doe, was 16 at the time.
Last month, the now 20-year-old Jane Doe testified against her attackers, who beat, raped, and robbed her while as many as 20 other men and boys watched.
Peter and Montano are the first two out of six total accused attackers to stand trial. Ari Morales and Manuel Ortega pleaded guilty to their roles in the attack and are now serving 27- and 32-year prison terms, respectively.
This, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The other two accused attackers are awaiting trial.
During their victim’s testimony June 17, the two men showed no emotion as the victim described the last thing she remembered was leaving the dance because the loud music had given her a migraine and she was too hot.
She told the court she has a hazy memory of the attack but remembers getting kicked in the stomach and falling over, the San Francisco Gate reported.
It was the victim’s first public appearance since the night she was found comatose from near-fatal alcohol intoxication in addition to head trauma, burns, and hypothermia.
‘I remember not seeing anything because my eyes were closed and I was holding onto my necklace and getting kicked in the stomach,’ she said.
She was repeatedly asked if she remembered drinking alcohol and said no, though the defense said this contradicted what she told police and medical staff after the attack. Nor does she have any recollection of the sexual assault or consenting to any advances.
She testified yesterday that she woke up in hospital the next day surrounded by medical staff with a neck brace and catheter.
‘My head hurt, and I saw five of everybody staring at me. My body hurt from head to toe with excruciating pain every time I moved.’
Her legs ‘felt like somebody had ripped them out of place’ and she felt nauseated, ‘as if someone had took out my insides, stabbed them and put them back in’, she said.
Graphic pictures of her swollen face and bruised body were shown to jurors as she told them that to this day she still has scars on her back – the result of cigarettes being extinguished on her skin.
In the nearly four years since the assault, the victim said she still has shoulder and hip problems from the attack. She also said she now suffers from migraines regularly and has trouble learning.
The girl received a $4 million settlement from the West Contra Costa Unified School District in 2010.
The separate juries in the trial shared the courtroom but deliberated separately.
Neither defendant testified at the trial.
Over the course of six weeks, the juries heard from more than 30 witnesses, including Morales and Ortega.
Authorities say incident began when the girl, who was waiting for her father to pick her up from the dance, started drinking alcohol with several young men outside.
Ortega told the court that the victim chugged a bottle of brandy they’d stolen and given to her as she left the dance. When she collapsed, Ortega and others said they began ripping off her clothing.
Her blood alcohol level was .35 following the attack, which is three times the legal driving limit in California.
Of the other civilian witnesses, reports the Contra Costa Times, most were teenage boys who were either drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of the attack.
One of the witnesses testified he saw Montano search for a condom he originally discarded after raping the victim. Mantano’s DNA was found on a DNA wrapper.
A witness who was 15 years old at the time of the incident testified he heard Morales, Peter, and Montano bragging about what they’d done to the 95-pound victim.
DNA belonging to both Peter and Crane was found, along with the victim’s, on the same recovered condom.
‘The (District Attorney) looked very carefully at the evidence we presented,’ Richmond police Captain Mark Gagan told the Contra Costa Times after the verdicts were read. ‘When you’re dealing with crimes in concert, a person’s individual culpability means he’s also responsible for all the actions of his co-defendants.’
Peter’s jury deliberated for about seven hours before reaching a verdict on Tuesday. Montano’s jury deliberated for about 11 hours on Wednesday.
While their own mothers and family cried, both young men sat motionless as their guilty verdicts were read.
They both face 33 years to life behind bars for their roles in the attack.