Both Defendants Found Guilty In Richmond High School Gang Rape Case

Two separate juries today convicted two men who stood trial together for the October 2009 gang rape of a 16-year-old girl outside Richmond High School’s homecoming dance.

The first jury found Pinole resident Marcelles Peter, 20, guilty of rape in concert, forced sexual penetration in concert and forcible oral copulation in concert with a special allegation of causing great bodily injury.

As the jury filed into the courtroom before the verdict was read, Peter, who was dressed in a blue-striped collared shirt with a tie and slacks, stood with his hands in his pockets and watched them.

His attorney Gordon Brown put his arm around Peter’s shoulders as the verdict was announced.

A short time later, a separate jury convicted 22-year-old Jose Montano, of Richmond, of the same charges.
Neither defendant showed visible emotion as their respective verdicts were read.

Peter and Montano were prosecuted together in a rare dual trial with two separate juries, one for each of the defendants. Most of the testimony was given with both juries present, but closing arguments and other parts of the trial were heard separately.

The jury for Peter deliberated for seven hours and Montano’s jury took about 11 hours to reach a verdict.

The gang rape shocked the Bay Area, and Deputy District Attorney John Cope said during the trial that about 20 men and teenage boys were present as the victim was raped, beaten and robbed over a more than two-hour period.

The victim was severely injured, suffering head wounds, burns and hypothermia, Cope said. Her blood-alcohol level after the attack was 0.35 percent, he said.

The case was heard in the Martinez courtroom of Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Barbara Zuniga. The courtroom was packed this afternoon with members of the media, police officers who had worked on the case and family members and friends of the defendants.

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

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