Two days after a 16-year-old Richmond High student was raped and beaten by multiple assailants, a detective testified Thursday, she was able to identify the names of some suspects but was often unsure if they were at the scene of the assault.
Richmond police detective Terry Miles testified before Superior Court Judge Gregory Caskey in a preliminary hearing about last October’s assault. Miles said he presented the patient with photos at John Muir hospital in Walnut Creek. From the photos, she confirmed that defendant Cody Smith—a friend of hers since seventh grade—and 22-year-old Salvador Rodriguez of Richmond, were at the area that became the crime scene.
The girl told Miles she considered Smith a friend, but now felt betrayed by him. Miles did not testify as to whether the student remembered anything about the assault.
Richmond detective Eric Haupt’s testimony described his interview with defendant Elvis Torrentes, in which Torrentes said he had mutual flirtatious and physical contact with the student the night of the attack.
Detective Haupt testified that Torrentes said he joined a group of males and a girl sitting at a picnic table at Richmond High School.
Torrentes told detectives that the males in the group included defendants Cody Smith and Manuel Ortega, and two others—Jose Guadalupe and Salvador Rodriguez. When he arrived at the scene, Torrentes told detectives, he introduced himself to the girl—whom he could tell was “wasted”—and shook her hand. He said she made fun of his name, and they engaged in mutual flirting that involved Torrentes touching the girl in sexual ways.
After that, Torrentes told Haupt, the girl got up and he walked with her near the dumpster, where she vomited. He said she fell in the vomit and he tried to help her up, but she screamed and kicked at him, so he walked away.
At that point, Torrentes told police he saw Ortega rip off the girl’s underwear, hearing the tear of the fabric, and then left the scene on a bike with Jose Guadalupe.
As he was leaving the scene, Torrentes said he and Guadalupe ran into “Joe D.,” whom he identified as defendant Jose Montano—named as a participant in the rape—and defendant Marcelles Peter. Torrentes said he told the two guys that there was a “drunk, naked girl” in the back of the school and that Montano and Peter ran to the scene.
Defense attorney Cecily Gray—representing Torrentes—questioned Haupt about her client’s interaction with the student the night of the attack and his language during his interview with detectives.
“Was Mr. Torrentes respectful when talking about the girl and their interaction?” Attorney Gray asked Detective Haupt.
“Absolutely not,” said Haupt. “He should have been a man out there and he wasn’t.”
Gray pointed out that the interview transcript showed that, unlike other defendants, Torrentes never used vulgar terms to describe the student’s body and what happened in the courtyard.
Seven suspects—Cody Ray Smith, 16; Elvis Torrentes, 23; Ari Morales, 17; Marcelles Peter, 18; Jose Montano, 19; Manuel Ortega, 20; and John Crane Jr., 43—face charges ranging from assault and robbery to gang rape and rape with a foreign object.
All except Torrentes face life sentences if convicted.
The preliminary hearing, which determines if there is enough evidence against the defendants to justify a trial, continues Friday, Dec. 3, 2010 at 9 a.m. with the cross-examination of Detective Terry Miles in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez.