DA goes over events from night of attack on Richmond High teen

Defendents Marcelles Peter, Jose Morano, Elvis Torrentes, and John Crane are escorted into the Contra Costa Country Courthouse for the preliminary hearing on the gang rape of a Richmond High School student.

Defendents Marcelles Peter, Jose Morano, Elvis Torrentes, and John Crane are escorted into the Contra Costa Country Courthouse for the preliminary hearing on the gang rape of a Richmond High School student.

As the preliminary hearing in the gang rape of a Richmond teen entered its eighth day, District Attorney Dara Cashman attempted to establish a timeline of events for the night of October 24, 2009, outside the Richmond High homecoming dance.

Cashman continued to question Detective Ken Greco, who returned to court on Monday for his third day of testimony.  Cashman asked for detailed accounts from Det. Greco (now retired from the Richmond PD) about his interviews with suspects Ari Morales, 17, and Manuel Ortega, 20, in an attempt to determine when and where the  assaults occurred.

Det. Greco testified that, according to Morales’ account, Ortega had repeatedly struck the 16-year-old student in the head as she screamed for help. Then she was dragged around the outdoor part of the Richmond High campus from one area to another.

Det. Greco testified that Morales had said, “I seen a couple of dudes, and then I seen her.”  Morales went on to say, “I didn’t feel anything.  I just looked away and continued drinking my Four Loko,” referring to a beverage that–until a recent FDA warning–contained both caffeine and alcohol.  Both Ortega and Morales were described as not willing to volunteer information easily, and especially reluctant to give out information about others.

Yet defense attorneys continued their attempts to poke holes in the account given by defendant Morales.  Attorney Mary Carey–representing 19-year-old Jose Montano–pointed out that Morales first described a friend who attended the homecoming dance called “Toofer” as a “tall, light-skinned dude.” In later descriptions, Carey pointed out that Morales described him as a black man, and at another point as a tall, skinny Mexican.  It was unclear if “Toofer” was present at the scene of the assault or not.

Also testifying was Officer Peter Martin, one of the Richmond Police officers on duty the night of the attack.  In his twenty-minute testimony,Martin described collecting evidence from Manuel Ortega for the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) kit.  Martin described Ortega as “aggressive,” “intoxicated” and “belligerent” while officers gathered evidence for the SART kit.

Detective Smith of the Richmond Police Department is expected to testify when the hearing continues on Tuesday, November 30th.  The hearing will take place at the Contra Costa Country District Court in Martinez at 9:00am.

2 Comments

  1. Jack

    The use of the term “alleged” in this case is beyond absurd. The medical evidence was conclusive. She was viciously assaulted and raped. Even some of those charged confirm that she was repeatedly raped, assaulted and tortured.

    She was in such critical condition she needed to be life-lifted to the hospital, her face horribly swollen and bruised and covered from head to toe with injuries, including the results of blunt force trauma and severe sexual harm.

    Salvador Rodreigez and the cop the first cop on the scene thought she was dead when they found her. She required assistance breathing and was unconscious for a prolonged period of time. If had not been found and treated for her injuries, she probably would have died. Any claims this was consensual are insane.

    The only thing alleged is the participation of those charged, nothing else.

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