SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 16-year-old girl testified Tuesday that she and a friend were tackled from behind, then taken to a dark park and raped as they took a break from a surprise birthday party for the other girl's uncle last year.
The 16-year-old -- identified as Jane Doe 2 -- testified as the first witness in the trial of Leonel Contreras and William Steven Rodriguez. The defendants, both 17 years old, are being prosecuted as adults on 21 counts, including rape, sodomy by force and kidnapping. Their cases are being heard by separate juries.
Jane Doe 2 said she and Jane Doe 1 were attacked after 8 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2011, as they sat under a tree during a walk from the party on Spindletop Road.
"They came up from behind us and tackled us both," she said.
The teen said the assailants took her and her friend up a slope and into a dark grassy area. She testified that she struggled with the man who held her -- who she identified as Contreras -- and bit him. He responded by putting a bandana in her mouth, and "said if I tried to scream he would hurt me," the girl testified.
Jane Doe 2 said Contreras raped and sexually assaulted her -- holding a knife to her neck -- then switched partners with Rodriguez, who committed the same sex acts against her. The witness said her attackers switched partners again and continued the sexual assault.
She said the sexual intercourse with both assailants was painful because she was a virgin.
Her testimony came after opening statements in Contreras' trial.
Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick said the best-friend victims "shared a passion for life, family and the Christian faith, while the best-friend defendants shared "darker, more sinister" ideas.
Patrick said the defendants were staying at Rodriguez's aunt's house nearby when they attacked the girls.
After they were caught, Contreras told police that he and Rodriguez initially set out to rob someone, but changed their plans were they saw the girls, the prosecutor said.
Contreras' attorney, Michael Begovich, told the jury that his client was a "scared 16-year-old" who was "psychologically coerced" and falsely confessed to a multiple rapes.
Begovich said the details of the crime don't match the physical evidence and that his client won't be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Opening statements in Rodriguez' case were delivered last week. If convicted, each defendant faces 325 years to life in prison.