They were wearing bulletproof vests and flanked by deputies.

Quite a change for suspects Cody Ray Smith, 15, Ari Abdallah Morales, 16, and Marcelles James Peter, 17, who all now face charges in the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside her northern California high school’s homecoming dance.

They were arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court Thursday, and charged as adults because of the severity of the crime, said prosecutor Dana Cashman.

They could face life in prison.

Smith pleaded not guilty, while Morales and Peter did not enter a plea. 19-year-old Manuel Ortega was arraigned separately and also entered no plea.

Another suspect, Salvador Rodriguez, 21, also remained jailed but has not been charged.

Police say as many as ten people ranging in age from 15 to their mid-20s attacked the girl for more than two hours at a dimly lit area Saturday night.

Click here to read more.

UPDATE: 6 Arrested In Alleged Gang-Rape Of California Girl, [Updated 10.30.09, 9:00 a.m.]

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) — Police made a sixth arrest Thursday in the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside a high school dance.

Jose Carlos Montano, 18, was arrested at about 5 p.m. outside his San Pablo home. He played a “significant role in the rape of the victim,” Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan said.

Montano was being held on $1.3 million bail on suspicion of rape, rape in concert with force and other charges, Gagan said.

His arrest came after three other teen suspects appeared for the first time in court Thursday.

Cody Ray Smith, 15, pleaded not guilty, while Ari Abdallah Morales, 16, and Marcelles James Peter, 17, did not enter pleas during their arraignment in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Peter’s aunt, Monica Peter, said before the hearing that her nephew had told her he was only a bystander and did not participate in the attack. Asked why he didn’t do anything to stop it, she said he feared “he would get his ass kicked.”

Morales’ lawyer, Ernie Castillo, said he was still learning details about the case.

RICHMOND, Calif. – Four teenagers face adult charges in the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside her Northern California high school’s homecoming dance.

Defendants Manuel Ortega, 19, Cody Ray Smith, 15, Ari Abdallah Morales, 16 of and Marcelles James Peter, 17 were arraigned Thursday in Contra Costa County Superior Court. Smith pleaded not guilty in the case, while the others didn’t enter a plea.

All four will be back in court next week.

Flanked by deputies and wearing bulletproof vests, Smith, Morales and Peter were each charged with rape in concert and sexual penetration with a foreign object, along with special circumstances that could make them eligible for life in prison.

They were charged as adults because of the severity of the crime, prosecutor Dana Cashman said.

Morales is also charged with robbery. Ortega also is charged with robbery and assault causing great bodily injury.

A fifth suspect arrested, Salvador Rodriguez, 21, also remained jailed but has not been charged.

Richmond police said they’re still looking for more suspects in the Saturday night attack, which may have involved more than two dozen people watching as the girl was raped for two hours.

A fifth suspect remains in custody but has not yet been charged.

Police: At Least 12 People Watched Girl Gang-Raped & Did Nothing, [Updated 10.27.09, at 10:16 a.m.]

RICHMOND, Calif. — Police believe as many as a dozen people watched a 15-year-old girl get beaten and gang-raped outside her high school homecoming dance without reporting it.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that onlookers laughed, took pictures and even joined in the crime.

Two suspects were in custody Monday, but police said as many as five other men attacked the girl over a two-hour period Friday night outside Richmond High School.

“She was raped, beaten, robbed and dehumanized by several suspects who were obviously OK enough with it to behave that way in each other’s presence,” Lt. Mark Gagan said. “What makes it even more disturbing is the presence of others. People came by, saw what was happening and failed to report it.”


The victim remained hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Manuel Ortega, 19, was arrested at the scene and was being held on $800,000 bail for investigation of rape and robbery. He is not a student at the school.

Richmond police Sgt. David Harris said he did not know if Ortega had retained an attorney.

A 15-year-old student also was booked late Monday on one count of sexual assault, Gagan said.

Police said the girl left the dance and was walking to meet her father for a ride home when a classmate invited her to join a group drinking in the courtyard. The victim had drank a large amount of alcohol by the time the assault began, police said. The girl’s father was looking for her during the attack, according to the LA Times:

Police were finally called after a female student overhead people talking about the rape. She called 911 and told dispatchers what she had heard, Gagan said.When officers arrived on the scene, the assault was still going on. Several suspects fled as officers found the girl naked from the waist up, Gagan said.

The victim was semi-conscious near a picnic table, police said.

Marin Trujillo, a spokesman for the West Contra Costa Unified School District, said there were four police officers and three school administrators monitoring the dance, but the assault happened away from the gym.

NewsOne Radio

Our staff has picked their favorite stations, take a listen...

Also On NewsOne:
20 Tweets Dragging Roseanne Barr To A White Privilege Hell
ABC's 'Roseanne'
21 photos
More From NewsOne