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Trial Begins For Men Charged In 2009 Richmond Gang Rape

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Richmond High School

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

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MARTINEZ (KCBS / KPIX 5)— A Contra Costa County prosecutor delivered a graphic opening statement Monday as the trial began for two men charged in the brutal 2009 gang rape of a teen girl at Richmond High School.

20-year-old defendant Marcelles Peter of Pinole faces life in prison with the possibility of parole, if convicted.

Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney John Cope told the jury in a Martinez courtroom that the victim was repeatedly raped and beaten on a cold October night outside a homecoming dance on campus in 2009. Cope said Peter took part in the assault on the girl, who was a 16-year-old sophomore at the time.

Cope said the victim has no memory of the gang rape in part because she had a blood-alcohol content level of .35.

During opening arguments, Cope described in graphic terms how she was abused when police found her. He said Jane Doe was naked and “incoherent and basically unconscious.” Cope also said the victim suffered serious head trauma, numerous cuts and bruises, and was covered in alcohol, urine, and dirt.

Defense Attorney Gordon Brown asked the jury to keep an open mind, to judge the validity of the witnesses, and to be objective. He questioned the value of semen evidence in a condom, saying it could have been contaminated.

Opening statements are scheduled Tuesday for another defendant in the case, 22-year-old Richmond resident Jose Montano.

Two men already serving sentences of 27 and 32 years for the gang rape are expected to take the stand in the trial. Another trial is pending for two other men charged in the case.

During the trial, the victim is expected to testify for the first time in the case, which drew national media attention. The victim reached a civil settlement with the school district in 2011 for $4 million.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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