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Defense in Rape Case Calls Girl's Parents to Stand

Lawyers in the Orange County trial seek to impeach the alleged victim's credibility by showing conflicts in testimony.

June 08, 2004|Claire Luna | Times Staff Writer

In an unusual strategy, lawyers for three defendants in a high-profile Orange County gang-rape trial called the alleged victim's parents to testify Monday as part of a continued campaign to damage her credibility.

A video expert who said a tape was doctored and a narcotics expert who contends he cannot tell if the girl was drugged also testified as the trial entered its fifth week of testimony.

Gregory Scott Haidl, 18, and Kyle Joseph Nachreiner and Keith James Spann, both 19, are charged in the case. Each faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted of raping the allegedly unconscious 16-year-old girl -- known as Jane Doe in court -- one night in July 2002 at the Corona del Mar home of Haidl's father, an Orange County assistant sheriff.

All four teens lived in Rancho Cucamonga at the time, although the younger Haidl has since moved to Orange County.

Defense lawyers asked Jane Doe's parents about their daughter's version of events that night, when she contends that Nachreiner gave her a mixed drink and that she remembers nothing else until the next morning. As the prosecution's key evidence, a videotape allegedly shows the three boys raping the girl and sexually assaulting her with a pool cue and bottle, among other objects.

Several of the parents' statements clash with their daughter's testimony, Gregory Haidl's lead lawyer, Joseph G. Cavallo, said outside court. For example, he said, the girl testified that she didn't remember anything before waking up at Spann's house the morning after the alleged rape. But her mother testified Monday that her daughter told her she recalled telling Spann to pull over on the freeway because she had to go to the bathroom.

Jane Doe's father testified that his daughter told him shortly after the incident that the videotape had two sex scenes: the alleged rape and a consensual encounter with Spann the week before. Cavallo said outside court that this undercuts the girl's testimony that she was unconscious and had no immediate knowledge that the alleged rape had been videotaped.

"She has to be aware of what happened to know that she was on the video twice instead of just once," the lawyer said.

The defense on Monday also called video editing expert Joe Micalizzi, who testified that several scenes -- ranging from eight seconds to several minutes long -- are missing from the 20-minute tape. Also, Micalizzi said, flutters in the footage prove that the tape is a copy.

But prosecutor Dan Hess argued that a camera malfunction better explains the fluttering, especially since earlier scenes on the video as well as another tape confiscated from Gregory Haidl's home -- then in Rancho Cucamonga -- also flutter.

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