The teen-agers suspected of raping and beating a woman jogger in Central Park whooped with laughter and leaped into the air to celebrate the attack, one of the suspects said in a videotaped confession played Friday.
"Everybody was laughing," recalled Kevin Richardson, 15, one of six youths indicted for rape and attempted murder in the April 19 attack.
In the 35-minute videotape, played at a pretrial hearing in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Richardson described the woman--nude, unconscious and sprawled on the ground--and the youths cavorting nearby.
"They was running around, leaping and stuff," he said.
Assistant Dist. Atty. Elizabeth Lederer, the prosecutor questioning him on the videotape at the 24th Precinct, then asked him: "They felt pretty good about what they'd done?"
"Yeah," answered Richardson, a hulking teen-ager who has been described by other defendants as one of the leaders of the attack on the 29-year-old woman and one of the rapists.
The Wall Street investment banker was left for dead in the wooded gully in Central Park. At the time, doctors feared that she would not survive and said her severe head wounds gave her only a slim chance of fully regaining her functions.
However, a doctor familiar with the case now says that the woman has made a "remarkable recovery." The physician said she will likely have a "100% recovery" and is considering an offer to eventually go back to her job at Salomon Brothers.
Prosecutors said she will be a witness at trial this winter, although she has said that she has no recollection of the attack. She has been told what happened to her and understands how she became injured, investigators said..
Richardson's left cheek was scratched by the woman, which authorities say is evidence of the struggle she put up when attacked.
Richardson, however, denied taking part in the incident. He contends that he became involved only in an effort to stop the violence and, in the process, was scratched by her.
He said he tried to intervene while another youth, Antron McCray, 15, was having intercourse with the woman as the others stood around watching.
"I came over there and I was like trying to stop it. I got in the way and she scratched me," Richardson said.
He said he grabbed the woman's arm, claiming that the action was meant to stop the rape.
A doubtful-sounding Lederer questioned him about the statement.
"You grabbed her arm when you tried to stop it?" Lederer asked.
"Yeah," Richardson replied.