Judge: Opening statements Tuesday in York Fair gang rape
Jury selection has wrapped up for three Manchester Township teens accused of luring a 14-year-old girl from the York Fair and gang raping her at gunpoint.
At 4:20 p.m. Monday, May 6, presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness told the jury pool that they were in the "last phase of this process," meaning juror questioning was finished.
All that remained was for senior deputy prosecutor Kara Bowser and defense attorneys to seat the jury, Ness said — 12 jurors and two alternates. That happened shortly after 4:30 p.m.
The jury is composed of seven women and five men, with two men as alternates.
Ness told jurors to return to the York County Judicial Center on Tuesday shortly before 9 a.m. for preliminary instruction from him before attorneys on both sides make opening statements.
Defendants Kelvin Mercedes, Daishon Richardson and Andrew R. Miller remain free on bail, charged as adults with rape and related offenses.
All three sought to have their cases moved to juvenile court, but Ness denied those requests, describing the alleged gang rape as a well-planned attack.
The defendants were 16 years old at the time, police have said.
The background: Mercedes, Richardson and Miller are accused of raping the girl while threatening her with a handgun the night of Sept. 16, 2017.
The girl testified at the three co-defendants' February 2018 preliminary hearing that she went to the York Fair that evening with two friends but left by herself through "the back gate."
It was there that she ran into Richardson and Miller, whom she knew, and a third teen with them she didn't know, whom she has identified as Mercedes.
They asked her if she wanted to see a dead body, and all four walked away together, stopping on the property of a business near West York's baseball field, she said. The girl estimated that was about 10 p.m.
That's where Mercedes lifted his shirt to show he had a gun, and Richardson told her to perform oral sex on him and pushed her head down, she testified.
"They all started taking their pants down," she said. "I just did what they told me to do ... because Kelvin had a gun."
Dragged away: The trio then forcibly dragged her behind an abandoned house and took turns raping her, with Mercedes at times holding down her arms and at times holding a gun, according to the girl.
Afterward, one of the attackers called for someone to pick them up, and she was forced into a maroon SUV under threat of physical harm, according to her testimony.
After a short drive, she was pushed out of the SUV and fell to the ground as it drove off, she said.
Defense attorneys for Miller, Richardson and Mercedes have said their clients maintain their innocence.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.