East Bay News

Richmond gang rape suspects enter not guilty pleas

Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Richmond, gang rape, homecoming, 15-year-old girl raped, school dance, Ari Abdallah Morales, Marcelles James Peter, Cody Ray Smith, Manuel Ortega, Jose Carlos Montano, Elvis Joshue Torrentes, Maggie Vargas, Salvador Rodriguez Richmond, gang rape, homecoming, 15-year-old girl raped, school dance, Ari Abdallah Morales, Marcelles James Peter, Cody Ray Smith, Manuel Ortega, Jose Carlos Montano, Elvis Joshue Torrentes, Maggie Vargas Police are searching for 4-7 rapists and up to a dozen spectators who watched. Gang Rape

The six young men accused of gang raping a girl outside the Richmond High School homecoming dance were all in court Tuesday morning.

All six suspects entered not guilty pleas to various sex related felony charges.

Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom. The defendants appeared in orange jump suits behind a bullet proof glass enclosed barrier. Their friends and relatives packed the courtroom. One person was ejected for trying to communicate with a defendant, otherwise there was no other disturbance.

Three of the defendants are adults whose ages 18, 19 and 21; three defendants are juveniles ages 15, 16 and 17 -- who are being tried as adults. The defendants did not show any emotion as their lawyers entered their pleas. It was a very brief appearance.

"As far as with the girl, I'm not saying she is a bad person, but I feel that there had to be something that attracted them if they did it -- I don't know," said a friend of a defendant Shyan Mason.

"It's also got a very cold callous element to it, because of the fact that there were so many people and very little effort, if any, to help her in anyway," said the Deputy DA of Contra Costa Co. Dara Cashman.

Cashman said the 15-year-old victim probably won't testify in the preliminary hearing. Under Proposition 115, the prosecution can call detectives to testify on her behalf.

All defendants will be back in court on January 21st, at which time the judge hopes to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

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richmond rape, crime, east bay news, vic lee
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