Closing arguments were scheduled to begin Wednesday in the trials of two men accused of taking part in the brutal gang rape of a 16-year-old girl outside of a Richmond High School homecoming dance.
Marcelles Peter, 20, and 22-year-old Jose Montano are being tried separately but in front the same jury.
The two men face life in prison if convicted as charged in the Oct. 24, 2009, attack. Two former co-defendants are already serving prison sentences while another two are awaiting trial on lesser sexual assault charges.
Weeks of at times emotional testimony ended Monday and closing arguments were set to begin on Wednesday in the case against Peter and on Thursday in the case against Montano.
The respected defenses quickly wrapped up their cases on Monday with Peter's attorney calling no witnesses and Montano’s defense calling just one – a forensic pathologist.
Manuel Ortega, 22, who has been described as the ringleader of the attack and now serving a 32-year prison sentence,testified against the pair as did Ari Morales, who has begun a 27-year sentence.
Both men received their sentences in exchange for plea deals with the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office. As part of the bargains, both agreed to testify in the current trial.
The victim, her father and police investigators also testified for the prosecution.
The group of six men and teenagers were charged with the brutal attack of the heavily intoxicated girl, whom authorities say was beaten, robbed and sexually abused over two hours while as many as 20 other people watched outside the Richmond High homecoming dance.
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