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Preliminary Hearing Wraps Up In Richmond Gang Rape Case

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Richmond High School

Police outside Richmond High School. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

MARTINEZ (KCBS) — After several weeks, the preliminary hearing into the gang-rape of a Richmond High School student is finally wrapping up, with the last witness called to the stand Monday in Martinez.

Witness number 20 was the Richmond police department’s lead investigator, Sgt. Lori Curran, the one who first interviewed teenage defendant Cody Smith about the events that led up to the gang rape last October of a 16-year-old girl.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

Curran testified that Smith voluntarily went with investigators from Richmond High to the PD to be interviewed. She said after less than an hour of questioning the boy asked to leave.

Sgt. Curran testified that Smith became “untruthful and evasive” during the interview and that’s when she read him his Miranda Rights, effectively taking him from witness to suspect.

Last week, a DNA expert testified that DNA was found on four of the seven defendants in the case and that investigators discovered DNA profiles from at least four males who have yet to be identified.

The victim was raped, beaten and robbed for two hours in a dark courtyard at the high school while a homecoming dance was taking place inside.

Attorneys in the case were expected to argue a motion Monday afternoon and then present their oral arguments.

After listening to the arguments, Judge Gregory Caskey will decide whether there is enough evidence to hold the defendants for trial.

The defendants in the case include San Pablo residents Smith, 16, and Ari Morales, 17; Pinole resident Marcelles Peter, 18; and, Richmond residents Jose Montano, 19, and Elvis Torrentes, 22, Manuel Ortega, 20, and John Crane Jr., 44.

Six of the defendants could face life in prison if convicted.

The hearing began Nov. 15 in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez and included testimony from 20 witnesses.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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