Officer brought to tears during gang rape hearing

November 17, 2010 1:41:57 PM PST
It is day two of a hearing to determine whether seven suspects should stand trial for a teen gang rape during a homecoming dance at Richmond High School last year. During the hearing, another police officer broke down on the stand.

Manuel Ortega claims there was never a rape outside Richmond High School. He was 19 at the time, and he says the girl consented to having sex and that she was a willing participant.

Police records read during the second day of a preliminary hearing for all seven suspects' show Ortega repeatedly denied doing anything wrong after his arrest. He said he did not rape the girl, known only as Jane Doe. He said she knew what she was doing sand though she was 16, he called her a grown woman.

"She was so drunk, she didn't even know what was going on," Ortega said on the police report. "I wasn't the only one. There was hella people. She wanted it, Jane Doe wanted it, she wanted all of us."

Richmond police officer Gary Lewis testified that Ortega was drunk, combative and threatened to kill police. But the district attorney noted that Ortega used the word rape before any officers ever said it to him.

"All of the kids, in their statements, said that Cody had nothing to do with anything. He left actually, when they started when they started doing whatever they were doing. He left," Cody Smith's mother Sherie Regalia said.

Regalia, the youngest defendant's mom who was just 15 at the time, says her son knew the victim for years. He's accused of luring her to the dimly lit section of campus where the rape occurred.

Another mother also says her son, Elvis Torrentes, is innocent. He's the only defendant not facing life in prison, but he faces 26 years for aiding in the rape.

"They haven't found anything," Marta Torrentes said.

For the second day, a veteran officer broke down on the stand. Crime scene investigator Joanna Grizetti said the victim had abrasions on her knees, toes, face, ears and back. She could barely look at photos of the girl.

"She had rocks and dirt, debris on her back, impressed into the skin, plant material entangled in her hair," she said.

The district attorney will call a total of 20 witnesses. Among are them experts who are expected to discuss DNA evidence. The preliminary hearing will last through next week.

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