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2 Plead Guilty in Black Star Attacks

Courts: Teens will admit to kidnapping and robbery, but not rape, and won't be tried as adults. Two others still face 39 felony charges.

January 20, 2002|KIMI YOSHINO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two teenage members of a gang accused of raping two girls and beating their boyfriends in Black Star Canyon last summer have reached a plea agreement with prosecutors, a defense attorney said Saturday.

The teens, Veruk Kim, 17, and Phu Tran, 15, will plead guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbery and other crimes but will not face sexual assault charges, defense attorney Doug Myers said.

Myers, who is representing Tran, said the plea bargain eliminates the possibility that the juveniles could be tried as adults, and effectively caps their sentences at eight to 10 years. As juveniles, they will be sentenced to a California Youth Authority facility, where they can be held until they are 25 years old.

Kim, Tran and three other teens had been accused of repeatedly raping two girls, ages 13 and 15, and beating their boyfriends, ages 16 and 17, while they were in the remote east Orange County canyon.

Myers declined to say why Tran has agreed to plead guilty, but told The Times in a previous interview that both Tran and Kim had tried to stop the attacks and were not involved in the rapes.

Erick Oswaldo Dominguez of Anaheim and Cuahutemoc Torres of Orange, both 19, face 39 felony counts each. Their next court hearing is scheduled Feb. 1. Prosecutors are seeking to try a third suspect, Jesus Rene Green, 16, as an adult.

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