Richmond High school gang rape trial defendant Marcelles Peter told police that he touched the victim’s “private area,” but didn’t foresee the girl getting raped, and beaten, according to a police interrogation video to the 20-year-old Pinole Man’s jury.
“I don’t think I should be in trouble for this because I didn’t know what was going to happen,” a 17-year-old Peter told detectives in 2009, a few days after a 16-year-old sophomore was raped and beaten on the school’s campus after leaving a homecoming dance.
Peter turned himself in to police after a warrant was issued for his arrest based on another minor’s statement that Peter bragged about touching the girl, whom police found mostly nude and near death from alcohol poisoning, hypothermia, and head trauma under a campus picnic table on October 24,2009.
Peter’s former neighbor, Ari Morales, and Manuel Ortega have been convicted of gang rape, and two other men are awaiting trial on lesser sexual assault charges. Peter and his 22-year-old co-defendant, Jose Montano, of Richmond, face life in prison if convicted as charged by their respective juries at their dual jury trial.
Peter’s police interviews covered Monday and Tuesday were the first pieces of evidence that Montano’s jury was excluded from hearing. Dual juries, while rare, are used when certain evidence is only admissible for one defendant.
Montano’s jury did not hear how Peter told police that “(Montano) had sexual relations with her, but I only saw it for a second.”
Peter told police that after being turned away from the dance, he was drinking at the school’s basketball courts with Morales and Montano. There, a guy on a bike told them ther was a drunk girl in the courtyard and who was “having sex with everybody.”
The scene soon came across, Peter said, was not what he expected. The girl appeared to be dead before he saw her vomit. Someone shouted out that people were welcome to do what they wanted to her. In response, another yelled that if they did anything,it would be rape.
After repeatedly denying touching the victim, Peter demonstrated to detectives how he quickly swiped his fingers across the girl’s vagina.
To his horror, moments later, Ortega tried to force the girl to give him oral sex and kicked her in the head when she couldn’t preform. Peter thought he was going to kill her.
“I fondled her or whatever you want to call it, and then I backed off.” Peter said “Right before my eyes, everything goes nasty.”
Peter denied throughout the interview that he ever bragged to anyone about touching the girl.
“I would not be proud of that,” Peter said. “Whoever that guy is, I say rot in hell. I am not that guy.”
As Peter’s attorney, Gordon Brown, questioned Peter’s main interrogator, Detective Stina Johanson, his questions focused on the ruses that the officers used to obtain Peter’s statement.
“No matter how many times Mr. Peter denied it, you weren’t accepting it, right?” Brown asked Tuesday.
“I did not believe him, correct,” Johanson said.
Article written by Malalka Fraley Bay Area News Group