Three East Bay teens allegedly involved in the unconscionable rape of a 15-year-old girl in Richmond last weekend are being tried as adults, meaning they could face life in prison. If the three young men were charged and convicted in juvenile court, state law requires that they would have to be released when they reach they age of 25. The young men are Ari Morales, 16 and Cody Smith, 15, of San Pablo and James Peter, 17, of Pinole. A fourth defendant, Manuel Ortega, 19, of Richmond also is charged in connection with the case, and could face life in prison.
The alleged gang rape has prompted "expressions of outrage from all over the country," said prosecutor Dara Cashman, according to the Contra Costa Times. Cashman cited the "coldness" of the alleged gang rape for why her office decided to try the teens as adults. The case has grabbed national headlines, particularly because the young men allegedly laughed during the two-hour attack, while many other teens walked passed without reporting it. Two other suspects have also been arrested in the case, according to the Times.