Trial Begins For Teens Accused Of Raping Girls In Park
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Opening statements were scheduled to get under way today in the trial of one of two 17-year-old boys accused of raping two teenage girls in a Rancho Penasquitos park.
Leonel Contreras, along with co-defendant William Steven Rodriguez, is charged as an adult with 21 counts, including rape, sodomy by force and kidnapping. Their cases are being heard by separate juries.
Opening statements in Rodriguez' case were delivered last week. If convicted, each defendant faces 325 years to life in prison.
The defendants are accused of assaulting 15- and 16-year-old girls who attended a family Labor Day party in the 12600 block of Spindletop Road, then walked to a nearby park about 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2011.
Identified in court as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, the girls testified during a preliminary hearing that they were attacked from behind by two boys.
Jane Doe 1 said she felt a knife to her neck as her friend struggled with a second attacker, identified in court as Rodriguez. The witness said Contreras put the knife in his jacket pocket at some point during the 30-45 minute assault.
The boys then allegedly switched partners, with Rodriguez raping Jane Doe 1 and Contreras raping Jane Doe 2 nearby.
According to court testimony, the defendants and the alleged victims did not know each other.
Graffiti led investigators to Rodriguez, who lives in the area, and he allegedly told police what happened. Police then tracked down Contreras, who allegedly said their original plan was to rob someone that night.