Gang rape suspects plead not guilty

January 15, 2009 2:07:03 PM PST
Three of four suspects in the Dec. 13 kidnapping and gang rape of a lesbian in Richmond pleaded not guilty to all the charges this morning in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez.

Humberto Salvador, 31, Josue Gonzalez, 21, and Darrell Hodges, 16, have each been charged with 10 felonies, including kidnapping to commit a sex crime and a series of forcible rape, forcible sodomy and forcible oral copulation charges while acting in concert. They were also each charged with carjacking and enhancements for causing great bodily injury, according to court records.

Salvador, the alleged leader of the group, was also charged with two additional counts of forcible sexual penetration. He faces additional enhancements for allegedly being armed with a gun during the assault and for committing a hate crime.

If convicted of all the charges, the defendants could be sentenced to life in prison.

Although Hodges, a Hercules resident, is 16 he had been charged as an adult in the case.

The fourth suspect, a 15-year-old Richmond boy, will be tried in juvenile court.

The attack began at about 9:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Visalia Avenue in the city's Belding-Wood neighborhood. The 28-year-old victim who was openly gay and had a rainbow sticker on her car to show her support for the gay community, was getting out of her vehicle when the four suspects allegedly began beating and sexually assaulting her, police said.

During the initial attack, one of the suspects saw someone coming and the group forced the victim into her car. They drove her to a remote area by the Bay Area Rapid Transit tracks, where they resumed the sexual assault, police said.

During the attack, which lasted about 45 minutes, the suspects allegedly made comments about the victim's sexual orientation, police said.

When they were finished, the four suspects allegedly left the woman naked near the train tracks and took off in her car.

She was able to get help from a nearby resident, who called police and an ambulance.

The three suspects are scheduled to return to court March 5 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

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