Judge: UMass rape defendants can be tried together
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — Four men charged with raping a University of Massachusetts student in her Amherst dorm room two years ago can be tried together, a judge has ruled.
But the decision made Thursday in Hampshire Superior Court by Judge Bertha Josephson comes with a condition.
Josephson told defense lawyers that she is allowing a motion by prosecutor Jennifer Suhl to join the four cases, The Republican (http://bit.ly/1ytqt98 ) reported. However, Josephson added that she redacted the transcripts of police interviews with each defendant so they would not incriminate each other. The redactions complicate the strategy for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, which may decide too much evidence will be lost.
Prosecutors must decide by a Nov. 23 status conference whether to try the four men together. The trial was tentatively scheduled for February.
Defense lawyers wanted the defendants to be tried separately.
Emmanuel Bile, Justin King and Adam Liccardi, all from Pittsfield, and Caleb Womack, of Windsor Locks, Connecticut — all either 17 or 18 at the time — are charged with raping the woman in her dorm room in October 2012. None of the suspects was a UMass student, but they all knew her. They are free on bail after pleading not guilty. Their lawyers say the sex was consensual.
The woman, who drank alcohol and smoked marijuana with the defendants, told police she didn’t consent to sex.
The woman had told the men not to visit her, but they were allowed into the dorm by another student, which prompted an overhaul of dorm security measures at the university.
Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, http://www.masslive.com/news/