MARTINEZ (CBS / AP / BCN) — A police officer testified in court Monday that he initially thought a teenage girl found gang-raped outside Richmond High School’s homecoming dance was dead.
Richmond police Officer Todd Kaiser took the stand at a preliminary hearing in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez for seven males accused of raping the then-16-year-old girl.
KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:
The estimated two-week court hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence to bring the defendants to trial.
Kaiser said he was sent to the high school at 11:48 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2009 after the Police Department’s dispatch center received a report that a naked girl was walking around behind the school.
When Kaiser arrived, he shined his spotlight on an area behind the school, located at 1250 23rd Street, and saw a group of people standing near a picnic table. As soon as they saw him, they took off running.
Kaiser said he found the partially nude victim lying underneath the picnic table, unconscious and covered in vomit. When he shook her to see if she was alive, she began moaning.
She looked wet and “really clammy white,” Kaiser said, adding that condom wrappers were scattered on the picnic table.
The victim’s dress was pulled up, and Kaiser said he could see abrasions on her back and evidence that suggested that she had been sexually assaulted, he testified.
While the paramedics were tending to the victim and police were securing the scene, the victim’s father showed up.
Kaiser said the father told him that his daughter had been helping out at the dance and was supposed to call him when she was done so he could come pick her up, but she never called.
He called her cell phone numerous times, but she didn’t answer, so he came to check on her. When he called her phone again, a male answered the phone and made sexual comments about his daughter, Kaiser said.
The victim was taken to Doctors Hospital in San Pablo and from there she was airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where she spent five days in the hospital, police said.
In the days after the attack, investigators said they believed the victim was beaten and raped for more than two hours by multiple people while as many as 20 others stood around and watched.
The seven defendants range in age from 17 to 43.
They are San Pablo residents Cody Smith, 16, and Ari Morales, 17; Pinole resident Marcelles Peter, 18; and Richmond residents John Crane, 43, Manuel Ortega, 20, Jose Montano, 19, and Elvis Torrentes, 22.
Three suspects who were juveniles at the time of the crime, Smith, Morales and Peter, have been charged as adults. Six of the seven could face life in prison if convicted.
Officer Gunnar Googins, who also testified at Monday’s hearing, said an intoxicated Ortega was caught by police as he was fleeing from the crime scene that night and told officers, “I just wanted to pimp her out.”
When Googins asked him what he meant by “pimp her out,” Ortega allegedly said, “Just go ahead and kill me” several times, Googins said.
The preliminary hearing was scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.
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