get training, get educated, and arm yourselves with knowledge and weapons, law abiding citizens need to take justice into their own hands, nobody can protect us other than ourselves and we will always be preyed on
MARTINEZ -- A Richmond police officer, testifying in court today, took several deep breaths before describing how he found a partially nude 16-year-old girl underneath a picnic table on the Richmond High School campus last fall.
"She looked wet. She looked really clammy white. I thought she was dead when I saw her," said Officer Todd Kaiser, the first witness to testify at a preliminary hearing for seven men and teen boys charged in connection with a gang rape on the campus during or after a homecoming dance on Oct. 24, 2009.
Kaiser, a patrol officer, said he was dispatched to the school at 11:48 p.m. that night on reports of a naked female walking on the campus. When he pulled up to the northwest side and shone a spotlight on a courtyard, Kaiser said that between five and seven men standing around a picnic table took off running. One of the men was shirtless, and grabbed a white T-shirt and a skateboard before he fled.
Kaiser walked up to the table and found the victim under the table, bent over a steel pole that attached to the bench seat. Her lavender dress was twisted up over her nude bottom. Her face was covered in vomit.
Kaiser said he shook the girl to see if she was alive, and she moaned. Around the picnic table were discarded condom wrappers, an Oakland As hat and an empty bottle of brandy. Sitting on top of the table was the victim's school ID card on a lanyard, and a walkie talkie.
After being treated by paramedics
at the scene, the girl was taken by helicopter to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She was hospitalized for five days after the assailants plied her with alcohol and then raped, beat and robbed her over two hours, according to police.
Numerous spectators witnessed the assault but did nothing to stop it, police said. One man told reporters he tried to help the girl but he was roughly ordered away by the group when he refused to participate in the rape.
When the victim's distraught father arrived on the campus that night, he said his daughter had volunteered to help dance organizers that night, Kaiser said. The girl was supposed to call her father for a ride home, but he never heard from her.
The father told Kaiser that he called his daughter's cell phone numerous times. At one point, a male answered his daughter's phone and told him, in crude terms, that the girl was good at sex and performing oral sex.
Kaiser is the first of more than two dozen witnesses scheduled to testify for the prosecution at the preliminary hearing under way in Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Gregory Caskey's courtroom. Caskey will rule at the end of the estimated two-week hearing whether the prosecution has enough evidence to bring some or all of the boys and men to trial on the charges.
The defendants are John Crane Jr., 43, of Richmond; Cody Ray Smith, 16, of San Pablo; Ari Abdallah Morales, 17, of San Pablo; Marcelles James Peter, 18, of Pinole; Manuel Ortega, 20, of Richmond; Jose Carlos Montano, 19, of Richmond; and Richmond Elvis Josue Torrentes, who turns 23 on Tuesday.
Ortega was apprehended near the school by police soon after the victim was found, Kaiser testified today.
All of the juvenile defendants are charged as adults. All seven, except for Torrentes, face charges that call for life in prison because of a special allegation that they physically participated in the rape. Torrentes could get up to 26 years in prison.
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