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#Richmond Gang Rape Defendants Receive Their Sentences

Photo: Richmond Confidential

Photo: Richmond Confidential

Defendants Jose Montano and Marcelles Peter were back in court today to receive their sentences.

Montano spoke to the court today saying “No words can undo what’s been done; all I can do is apologize for my actions and wish to move forward from this situation.”

A victim’s advocate read Jane Does statement to the court. The victim wrote that nearly four years later, she’s still “struggling and fighting” for her high school diploma. Because of the defendants, she wrote, she missed all the high school rites of passage — prom, senior picnic, senior portraits, walking across the stage at graduation with all her friends.

She continues to suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, body aches and migraines, and has trouble trusting people. She’s trying her hardest to put it all behind her and move forward with her life, she said.

“You both took a lot from me, more than you will ever know. But I just want to say to the both of you, I forgive you,” Jane Doe wrote. “I forgive you because I deserve to be at peace, but no matter how hard I try and wish I could, I’ll never forget and there are parts of me that will never be healed.”

The judge then sentenced the defendants. Montano received 33 years to life for his role. Marcelles Peter received 29 years to life-A lighter sentence because he was a minor at the time of his crimes, however the judge could not ignore his brutality.


SF Gate- Richmond gang-rape defendants found guilty

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It was an attack that horrified the Bay Area – the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl outside her homecoming dance at Richmond High School in which her attackers beat her unconscious and left her under a picnic table in a darkened courtyard.

On Thursday, nearly four years later, two young men were found guilty of numerous felony charges in the case, convictions that could land them in prison for the rest of their lives.


Contra Costa Jury’s Verdict—GUILTY!

pic from kgo channel 7

pic from kgo channel 7

A Contra Costa County jury found Marcelles Peter (20 of Pinole) and Jose Montano, (22 of Richmond) guilty in the 2009 gang rape of a 16-year-old outside her homecoming dance at Richmond High School. Montano’s jury deliberated for 11 hours. Peter’s jury deliberated for 7 hours.

Peter and Montano were found guilty of 3 felonies- Rape, Forcible oral copulation, and forcible rape, all in concert. They got a GBI (great bodily injury) enhancement. Both face 33 years to life.

During the six-week trial the juries heard from about 30 witnesses including  two men already convicted of the rape, Manuel Ortega serving a 32 year sentence and Ari Morales serving a 27 year sentence.

I’m excited this girl has once again found some sort of justice, however 2 more defendants are still awaiting trial-Richmond residents Elvis Torrentes, 25, and John Crane, 46. Torrentes is charged with sexual penetration of an intoxicated person. Crane, whose semen was found on the victim and various objects left at the scene, according to testimony, is charged with rape.


Verdict Reached For Peters In 2009 Richmond High Gang Rape case

MARTINEZ (CBS SF) – One of two juries in a dual trial against two young men accused of taking part in the brutal 2009 gang rape of a 16-year-old girl on the Richmond High School campus has reached a verdict.

The jury for 20-year-old Pinole man Marcelles Peter reached a verdict in the trial around noon. Both he and Jose Montano, 22, of Richmond, are charged with rape in concert, oral copulation in concert and sexual penetration with a foreign object along with special allegations of inflicting great bodily injury.

Defendant Marcelles Peters, 20 From Pinole

Defendant Marcelles Peters, 20 From Pinole

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Barbara Zuniga has sealed that verdict until Montano’s jury has reached a verdict.

If Montano’s jury doesn’t return a verdict by Thursday, the verdict for Peter will be read that afternoon, a court clerk said.

Two separate juries were deliberating at the close of a dual trial against Montano and Peter,  the first defendants to stand trial in connection with the October 2009 gang rape, in which the teen victim was raped and beaten over a more than two-hour period in a darkened courtyard at Richmond High, according to prosecutors.

The girl was left with head trauma, burns, hypothermia and a near-fatal 0.35 percent blood-alcohol level, Deputy District Attorney John Cope said.

Two other men, Manuel Ortega, 22, and Ari Morales, 19, are serving 32-year and 27-year prison terms, respectively, for their roles in the rape after reaching plea deals with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

Two more co-defendants are awaiting trial on lesser sexual assault charges.

Earlier this year, two juries were selected for the rare dual trial against Montano and Peter. The two groups heard most testimony during the trial together, but other parts, including closing arguments, were heard separately.

Peter’s jury began deliberating late Monday morning, and Montano’s jury began deliberating late Monday afternoon.

Former Santa Clara County Prosecutor and legal analyst, Steven Clark said each jury has its challenges and may send the men to prison on charges of aiding and abetting rape, even if they never touched the victim.


Richmond High gang rape defendants left DNA at crime scene, scientist testifies

By Malaika Fraley (Contra Costa Times)

MARTINEZ — The last known witness for the prosecution in the Richmond High School gang rape dual jury trial testified Monday that DNA from both defendants was recovered from the crime scene.

All 6 Defendants Charged With The Richmond High Rape of a 16 year old girl

All 6 Defendants Charged With The Richmond High Rape of a 16 year old girl

Defendant Marcelles Peter’s DNA was found on the interior of a discarded, broken used condom, according to DNA expert David Stockwell, who retired from Contra Costa County’s crime lab in 2011. Defendant Jose Montano’s DNA was found on a condom wrapper, Stockwell said.

Peter, 20, and Montano, 22, are each facing life in prison if they are convicted as charged in connection with the Oct. 24, 2009, assault on a then-16-year-old girl in a dark campus courtyard during a homecoming dance. Questions that their attorneys lobbed at Stockwell on Monday focused on the integrity of the evidence collection and testing processes, and possible scenarios as to how their clients’ DNA could get on the objects in an effort to raise doubt with jurors.

Ari Morales, 19, and Manuel Ortega, 22, are already serving long prison sentences after taking plea deals in the case; Elvis Torrentes, 25, and John Crane, 46, are awaiting trial.

46-year-old John Crane

46-year-old John Crane

The lab spent a year testing all the biological evidence against DNA samples that police collected from the victim, the seven men and boys originally charged in the case, and another six men and boys who were identified as witnesses to the assault.

From the victim’s body, authorities identified sperm DNA from Crane, Ortega and a male who has never been identified by police, Stockwell said.

Stockwell said he could not say whether Peter’s genetic material retrieved from inside a sperm fraction sample on the condom came from Peter’s sperm. It is possible, he said, that Peter’s non-sperm DNA, which was also found on the condom, crossed over into the sperm fraction.

Crane’s sperm was recovered from that same condom, as well as on numerous parts of the victim’s body, on stains on other suspects’ clothes and on various objects found at the crime scene, according to Stockwell.

Montano’s DNA on a condom wrapper was of the non-sperm variety, Stockwell said. Both Peter’s and Montano’s DNA were also found on an alcoholic beverage can.

Prosecutor John Cope began presenting witnesses June 4, and Stockwell is his last witness unless he chooses to call a rebuttal witness to contradict testimony by any defense witnesses



“I Backed Off,” Defendant Testifies


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.


Haunting chronology of events detailed in homecoming gang-rape case


Ari Morales, 19, testified about his involvement in the 2009 Richmond High School gang rape case

By Fareed Abdulrahman  Posted June 24, 2013 3:42 pm

A young man previously convicted in the group rape of a 16-year-old girl four years ago testified against two other suspects on Thursday.

Ari Morales, 19, never testified during his own trial in January. His comments last week marked the first time his version of events has been recorded in court. The testimony is part of a new trial against suspects Marcelles Peter, 20, and Jose Montano, 22, both of whom were charged with rape, rape with a foreign object and forced oral copulation.


Ringleader Of Richmond Gang Rape Testifies


MARTINEZ, Calif. —

A man who was convicted in connection with the brutal gang rape of a 16-year-old girl outside of a Richmond High School homecoming dance took the witness stand Thursday in the trial against two of his alleged co-conspirators.

Ari Morales, 19, of San Pablo, testified in a Martinez courtroom Thursday about the events of the night of Oct. 24, 2009, when he and several others took part in the gang rape and beating. The testimony is part of the trial against 20-year-old Marcelles Peter and 22-year-old Jose Montano, who are both charged with rape, rape with a foreign object and forced oral copulation.


Man convicted in Richmond High gang rape testifies about former co-defendant’s role in attack

By Malaika Fraley Contra Costa Times

MARTINEZ — A 22-year-old man convicted in the 2009 Richmond High School gang rape testified Thursday that he saw his former co-defendant Jose Montano on top of the 16-year-old victim for “like two seconds.”

“Two seconds, three, four, five — it wasn’t even a minute,” said Manuel Ortega, who’s serving a 32-year prison sentence at Mule Creek State Prison for the Oct. 24, 2009, attack in which a sophomore girl was beaten, raped and otherwise sexually abused for as much as 2½ hours in a dark campus courtyard after she left the school’s homecoming dance and drank a near-fatal amount of brandy.

Montano, 22, of Richmond, and 20-year-old Pinole resident Marcelles Peter are on trial on gang rape charges that call for a life prison sentence. Ortega is one of two former co-defendants who took a plea deal that requires him to testify at all future proceedings.

Ortega on Wednesday testified that Montano “raped” the girl. On Thursday, it was less clear what exactly he saw.

“He was on top of her for two seconds, and he just left,” Ortega said. He noted that he saw Montano go “up and down.”

“Did you see his pants down?” an attorney asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied.

The testimony is crucial to Montano’s defense, which is that he got on top of her but didn’t have sex with her or even unzip his pants.

In trial opening statements, prosecutor John Cope told the jury that there will be testimony that Montano’s DNA was found on a condom wrapper retrieved from the crime scene, and that he was seen running around saying, “Where’s that condom?” after raping the girl.

Ortega was a 19-year-old Point Richmond resident when he was arrested running away from the crime scene with the victim’s DNA on him. He had dropped out of Treasure Island Job Corps two years earlier and was scraping by panhandling and stealing things that he could sell, he said.

He said he would frequently hang out and drink in the Richmond High School courtyard; he didn’t know that there was a dance happening that night until after the fact.

Over his two days of testimony, he admitted to ripping off the victim’s clothes after she fell down drunk, trying to force her to give him oral sex, and hitting her and dragging her around the courtyard with Ari Morales, who also took a plea deal. He said he did not see Peter at the scene.

However, Ortega’s testimony was not without inconsistencies.

When asked how many people raped the girl, Ortega replied, “Just two, me and Jose.”

But then when asked immediately afterward whether he raped or had sex with the girl, Ortega said, “No.”

Ortega repeated that he was “very drunk” that night and that he wasn’t in “a right state of mind” when he gave his statements to police.

“I didn’t rape her,” Ortega said.

“So if you are forcing oral copulation within a minute of someone raping her, you don’t think you have anything to do with (the rape)?” Cope asked.

“No,” he replied.


Manuel Ortega Being Escorted Back To Jail After Testifying On June 11,2013.


Richmond Gang Rape Case- Victim Testifies


MARTINEZ, Calif. — The victim of an alleged gang rape at Richmond High told jurors Monday she doesn’t recall the brutal 2009

2013-01-26 23.16.17

homecoming night assault and only remembers waking up with a severe headache and aching body.
The young woman, who was 16 years old the time of the attack, spoke in a soft voice and did not make eye contact with her alleged attackers in the Martinez courtroom.

She told jurors she remembered being at the homecoming dance that night, but got a headache and went outside. She denied the claims of the defendants that she drank alcohol with them.

The young woman – who stood 4-foot-11 and weighed about 95 pounds at the time of the attack — said when she regained consciousness her headache had gotten worse and her body ached from her “neck down.” She continues to have problems with her hip, the young woman told jurors.
She was expected to be on the stand at the trial of 20-year-old Marcelles Peter and 22-year-old Jose Montano at least until lunch time. The proceedings are unique in that there are two separate juries – one for each defendant — listening to the testimony.

The young woman’s father has already given gut-wrenching testimony, describing the horrifying scene as he first saw his daughter following the brutal attack.


The father talked extensively about the scene the night in October of 2009 at Richmond High School and seeing his daughter as she was being wheeled from the scene after the horrible crime. “[Her] face was distorted, ashen, gray, clammy. She appeared to me on death row. Hair was all messed up. Lots of vomit in her hair,” the father said. “[There was a] footprint on the side of her face.” The father, identified as John Doe, described seeing his daughter in the aftermath of the attack as terrifying.

“It is a horror. It’s very scary to see what I did at that point,” he said.

The case centers around who did what in the gang rape of the young woman after her homecoming dance at Richmond High.

The victim was raped repeatedly for hours by as many as 20 people. Montano and Peter were among six men charged in the crime. Two men are awaiting trial, and two others took plea deals



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