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Charges Dismissed Against 2 Defendants in UCLA Rape Case

Jury cleared them of key counts but deadlocked on others. A third man will be retried.

June 22, 2004|Cynthia Daniels | Times Staff Writer

A judge Monday dismissed charges against two of the three young men accused of raping a UCLA student in her dorm room, but prosecutors announced that they plan to retry the third.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Van Sicklen told Jamar Dawson and Chuwan Anthony, both now 18, "You're all done."

Last month, a jury of nine women and three men found Deshawn Carter Stringer, 19, Dawson and Anthony not guilty of forcible rape and oral copulation while acting in concert. But the jurors deadlocked on several other counts.

Stringer was found guilty of sexual battery for groping another student on the same day of the alleged rape.

The jury voted 7 to 5 for guilty on forcible oral copulation charges and 6 to 6 on forcible rape charges against Stringer. But it deadlocked 11 to 1 for not guilty on the same charges against Dawson and Anthony.

"I think the jury's verdict spoke volumes and helped us make the decision," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Alyson Messenger, who prosecuted the case. "At this point, I don't think we can ever convince 12 people of the guilt of the other two. I think we have a much better chance of convincing 12 jurors of [Stringer's] guilt. The victim did tell him 'no' several times."

If retried, Stringer would face one count each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 16 years in state prison.

"It's bittersweet," said Frank Williams Jr., defense attorney for Dawson during the trial and now Stringer's attorney. "When we started this, [the prosecution] had a heartfelt belief that all three raped her. Now they switched that [to just one]. This will not allow me to celebrate."

Williams acknowledged that the case against Stringer would be an "uphill battle" since the jury was split 6 to 6 on the rape charge. He said he still plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges.

"I was prepared for everything," Stringer said Monday.

The Dawson family, also Stringer's foster family, said they are prepared for another trial.

During the trial, the young woman testified that on Dec. 5, 2002, the boys, then students at Carson High School, knocked on her door and said they were Florida college students who were transferring to UCLA next semester to play football and wanted "to make some friends." She said she let Stringer enter her room and the others left.

She said Stringer raped her although she told him "no" several times. She said she did not protest. After Stringer left, she said Dawson and Anthony entered her room and raped her. She said she neither protested nor resisted.

The three men testified that the alleged victim had spoken to them in a sexually suggestive tone and that the sex had been consensual.

Stringer is due back in court on July 13.

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