“Just say she came to your house and passed out,” he wrote to one friend whose home was where the girl ended up, naked and motionless on the floor with both defendants performing sexual acts on her.
Two witnesses, both friends of the defendants, said they saw both defendants sexually assault the girl and used their cellphones to capture images of it. They were among three eyewitnesses granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying, a decision that angered victims’ advocates who said witnesses should have been charged with failing to report a crime.
One of the three, when asked why he did not try to stop what was happening, testified that he did not realize it was rape. “It wasn’t violent,” he said. “I didn’t know exactly what rape was.”
The girl, who lives a few miles away in Weirton, W.Va., was described by friends as becoming extremely intoxicated very quickly as she downed vodka drinks. Her friends testified that she rejected their attempts to remain with them and instead staggered drunkenly away with the defendants and their friends.
Text messages sent by the girl and read aloud in court bolstered prosecution arguments that she was too intoxicated to know what had happened and hence was incapable of consenting to anything.
“Oh my God, please tell me this isn’t true,” she wrote in a text message to a friend after she began hearing of the sex acts through online chatter and pictures. “Who was there who did that to me?”