Long Beach : Appeals Court Reinstates Charges in Rape Case

An appeals court has reinstated charges against three men accused of raping a 14-year-old Long Beach girl in the back of a camper as they drove around the city's Westside in March, 1983.

In an eight-page opinion issued Tuesday, the 2nd District Court of Appeal said Long Beach Superior Court Judge John A. Arguelles should not have dismissed charges against the trio in January, 1984.

Long Beach Superior Court Judge Elsworth M. Beam had refused in September, 1983, to drop charges against Richard Allen Owensby, 26, Paul Greigo, 23, and Daniel Joseph Greigo, 26. But when the case came to trial four months later, Arguelles dismissed the charges because semen collected by a police surgeon after the rape was improperly handled and could not be used as evidence during a trial.

During a preliminary hearing in 1983, the girl said Owensby and the two Greigo brothers had raped her. Robert Kennedy, a Long Beach attorney representing Owensby, questioned the accuracy of the girl's testimony, noting that she was not wearing her glasses at the time of the rape. Because of that, Kennedy said the semen was invaluable evidence that would have proved that none of the men raped the girl.

But the appeals court ruled that Arguelles "merely reviewed the same testimony and arguments" that already had been scrutinized by Beam and therefore had "no changed circumstances before him upon which to base a dismissal or otherwise to countermand the earlier order."

With no new evidence, "it was an abuse of discretion" for Arguelles to dismiss the charges, the appeals court said. No new date for a trial has been set.

Kennedy said he would appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

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