Two parallel juries who heard arguments simultaneously in a dual trial of two of the accused rapists in the brutal 2009 rape of a young woman at Richmond High School were in deliberations today after closing arguments were performed separately for each. A verdict has been reached in the last couple of hours for one of the defendants, but the jury won't be reading the verdict until the second jury comes back with theirs.
The jury deciding the fate of 20-year-old Marcelles Peter reached their verdict after seven hours of deliberations, and the jury for 22-year-old co-defendant Jose Montano deliberated for three hours this morning before breaking for lunch. Peter's verdict has been sealed by the judge in the Martinez court until the second verdict is reached.
It's a rare instance of dual trial with two complete sets of jurors and two defendants facing the same charges in the same case. The trial lasted six weeks and it comes after two other defendants in the case, Manuel Ortega, 22, and Ari Morales, 19, struck plea deals and are serving sentences of around 30 years each. Ortega was identified as the "main instigator" in the rape, and he was sentenced to 32 years. Both Peter and Montano were charged with rape in concert, oral copulation in concert and sexual penetration with a foreign object, along with special allegations of inflicting great bodily injury on the victim.
There are still trials coming for two more men, Elvis Torrentes and John Crane Jr., who are facing lesser sexual assault charges.