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Rape hearing details arrest of hostile suspect

on November 17, 2010

The officers who arrested and booked 19-year-old Manuel Ortega for the rape of a Richmond High student said he was intoxicated, belligerent, and full of things to say. “I wasn’t the only one, there was hella people. She wanted it,” he allegedly told Richmond Police Officer Jeff Whitson shortly after being arrested.

Most of Tuesday’s testimony was about the arrest of Ortega, including details of his graphic accusations about the girl and the evidence police found on his body.

Officer Gary Lewis testified that, without being prompted, Ortega referred to the 16-year-old student by her first name and admitted to having sex with her. To protect the identity of the girl, District Attorney Dara Cashman asked officers to use ‘Jane Doe’ in place of her actual name.

“Jane Doe wanted it. Jane Doe wanted the d***. She wanted all of us,” Ortega allegedly said.

If Judge Gregory Caskey—of the Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez—decides there is sufficient evidence for the case to go to trial, Ortega faces life in prison.

Five others could also receive life sentences. They are Cody Smith, 16; Ari Morales, 17; Marcelles Peter, 18; Jose Montano, 19; and John Crane Jr., 43.

The seventh defendant, Elvis Torrentes, 23, faces lesser charges and could spend 26 years in prison if convicted.

Sheriff's deputies clear half the street as they prepare to escort the two juveniles charged in the rape to the Contra Costa County Courthouse in Martinez.

Officer Lewis testified that on the night of Oct. 24th, 2009, he was detailed to the area around Richmond High after reports came in of a possible sexual assault at the school.

He drove his squad car around looking for individuals that fit the description of Hispanic or black male adults in dark pants and hooded sweatshirts, who had been seen fleeing the scene, according to other officers.

Lewis spotted a young male—later identified as Manuel Ortega—a block south of Richmond High, coming from the direction of the school.

When Lewis approached, Ortega sprinted away. Lewis said he chased Ortega for 30 yards before he caught up and grabbed his right shoulder. Ortega tried to fight him off, Lewis said, by “flailing his arms and throwing punches left and right.”

Lewis said he wrestled Ortega to the ground and punched him in the side three times before getting him in handcuffs.

According to Lewis, Ortega began shouting a long string of lewd and threatening comments.

“I didn’t do shit wrong,” Ortega allegedly said. “We was all drinking and ‘Jane Doe’ wanted me to f*** her.”

Officers said Ortega continued talking, using this kind of language, during the ride in the squad car and on through his physical examination. They quoted him repeatedly through out the day’s testimony.

Listening to the officers’ first-hand accounts of the arrest and booking, Ortega—dressed in a yellow jumpsuit and chained at the feet—was unstill. He cracked his knuckles, pinched his lower lip, and quietly swung his legs around in loops.

Twice during Tuesday’s proceedings, he smirked—once when Officer Lewis stood up and identified Ortega as the person he arrested and again when Lewis said Ortega tried to bite him.

Most other times—when the testimony wasn’t specifically about Ortega by name—he sat slouched in his chair, expressionless.

But on the night in question, Lewis said Ortega was visibly drunk and combative—so much so that officers decided to restrain Ortega with an immobilizing leg wrap before transporting him to the city booking facility.

“He was resisting arrest from the moment of contact. He threatened to kill us all,” Lewis said.

“Just shoot me in the head, I don’t care,” Ortega allegedly said. “I’ve been alive 19 years and nobody don’t care about me.”

At the booking facility, Officer Joanna Grivetti was responsible for getting trace evidence from Ortega’s body, including clippings of his pubic hair and a mouth swab.

Officers said Ortega was uncooperative and had to be held by the arms, with Lewis holding down his left arm and another officer holding down his right arm.

On the stand Tuesday, Grivetti—who was also the initial Crime Scene Investigator in the courtyard at Richmond High School—said that while collecting the evidence, she noted pink glitter stuck to the skin above Ortega’s pubic region.

Grivetti testified that she remembered seeing similar pink flecks on the victim’s dress.

Officer Grivetti—the fifth witness to testify so far—is scheduled to continue with her testimony at 9 o’clock this morning.


  1. Vida Perez on November 19, 2010 at 1:00 am

    I really feel bad for the girl, I can’t believe there were alot of people watching a helpless girl and they didn’t do anything! That’s just ridiculous, it’s disgusting, people can be so dumb nowadays! How can you not do anything when you see someone helpless like that? It just completely disgusts me, I wish that all those who didn’t do anything will be punished!

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