Trial begins for teenager accused of rape in Rancho Penasquitos park
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two teenage girls raped in a Rancho Penasquitos greenbelt area last year had their innocence taken from them, a prosecutor said Friday.
In her opening statement for the trial of 17-year-old William Rodriguez, Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick told jurors that the then 15 and 16-year-old alleged victims were friends who went to a family party on Sept. 3, 2011 in the 12600 block of Spindletop Road.
"They shared a passion for life, family and the Christian faith," Patrick said. "The two defendants took their innocence from them."
The trial, in the courtroom of Judge Peter Deddeh, will have a separate jury for each defendant. An opening statement for co-defendant Leonel Contreras' jury is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
The juries will then hear all the evidence at the same time.
Contreras also is 17. The defendants are being tried as adults on 21 counts, including rape, sodomy by force and kidnapping, and face 325 years to life in prison if convicted, according to Patrick.
The prosecutor said Rodriguez and Contreras were out smoking marijuana when they spotted the two girls as they took a nighttime walk along a greenbelt running behind a residential neighborhood.
The boys accosted them, with one of the defendants holding a knife, and forced them to a more secluded area, using threats to make them stay quiet, she said.
According to the prosecutor, the defendants subjected them to "a brutal 30 to 40 minute series of sexual assaults that included every imaginable kind of rape."
Both girls suffered injuries from the assaults, Patrick said. She said DNA from the defendants and alleged victims was discovered on the body of one of the girls, and on clothing worn by both victims and their alleged attackers, she said.
She also detailed what she called "Facebook evidence," which included photographs of clothing.
Identified in court as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, the girls testified during a preliminary hearing that they were attacked from behind.
Jane Doe 1 said she felt a knife to her neck as her friend struggled with a second attacker, identified in court as Rodriguez.
Patrick said the defendants and the alleged victims did not know each other.
She said graffiti found in the open space resulted in a tip that led investigators to Rodriguez, who told police what happened. Police then tracked down Contreras.
Rodriguez' defense attorney, Dana Feuling, gave an opening statement that lasted about one minute, in which she urged the jurors to pay attention to all of the details.