Richmond High Rape Update: Seventh, Middle-Aged Man Turns Himself In and Is Charged
RICHMOND, Calif. — Prosecutors charged a seventh suspect Thursday (January 22) in connection with the Oct. 24 gang rape of a 16-year-old girl outside Richmond High School’s homecoming dance, Deputy District Attorney Dara Cashman said.
John Crane Jr., a 43-year-old Richmond resident, was charged with rape in concert and the special allegation that he personally penetrated the victim, an allegation that makes him eligible for a life sentence, Cashman said.
Crane, who turned himself in to police Tuesday night, was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Richmond this afternoon, but the arraignment was delayed because of a transportation mix-up.
He is scheduled to be in court Friday morning instead, Cashman said.
The other six defendants were in court Thursday to set a date for a preliminary hearing, but that was postponed because the district attorney’s office is still waiting for the results from forensic tests to be processed.
Those suspects include San Pablo residents Cody Smith, 15, and Ari Morales, 16; Pinole resident Marcelles Peter, 17; and Richmond residents Manuel Ortega, 19, Jose Montano, 18, and Elvis Torrentes, 21.
According to police, as many as 10 people robbed, beat and raped the victim for two and a half hours in a secluded area of the campus beginning at about 9:30 p.m. while as many as a dozen others stood by and watched.
There was an intense manhunt for Crane after a $100,000 arrest warrant was issued identifying him as being one of the participants in the rape on January 15. A $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to his apprehension.
Richmond police admitted that John Crane brings a “unique dynamic” to the case, because he is more than twice as old as the younger assailants. They do not believe that Crane knew any of the young men with whom he is charged, or even knew his victim.
My feeling is that Crane probably lived around or hovered around the vicinity of the school many times, and saw his opportunity that night.
Later, on February 3, Crane pled not guilty “to charges of forcible rape in concert and a special allegation that makes him eligible for life in prison if convicted.” He is being held on $100,000 bail.
More about this case later: what is happening in Richmond now, what is happening with the survivor and her family, and the lynch mob atmosphere among a large number of people, including the media, in the Bay Area.