Expert testifies date-rape drug likely used

Deepa Bharath

SANTA ANA -- An unconscious 16-year-old girl, allegedly gang-raped by

three teenagers who videotaped the incident, appears to have been

under the influence of a date-rape drug, an expert witness testified

for the prosecution on Monday.

Trinka Porrata, a former detective with the Los Angeles Police

Department who is considered an expert on drugs such as Ecstasy and

GHB, a common date-rape drug, watched different portions of the

20-minute digital videotape and commented on the girl's movements and

responses, or lack of them.

Greg Haidl, son of Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl, Kyle

Nachreiner and Keith Spann are accused of raping the girl and

sexually assaulting her with various objects in the elder Haidl's

Corona del Mar home a little less than two years ago. They each face

24 felony counts and up to 55 years and four months in state prison

if convicted.

Answering questions from Deputy Dist. Atty. Dan Hess, Porrata said

the girl's actions, including her "loose muscle tone" and the

"nonresponsiveness of her body as [the defendants] inserted objects

in her body," were consistent with someone who may have ingested a

date-rape drug such as GHB.

Prosecutors allege that the teens gave her a beer and a "mixed

drink" laced with GHB or a similar drug, which made her unconscious

and lose memory of the entire incident.

The videotape ends with the girl urinating on the pool table where

the teens reportedly assaulted her. Porrata said that in itself "is

consistent with someone on GHB."

"It's loss of bladder control, which is quite typical," she said.

"[The girl] has no real control over her body."

It is also common for people under the influence of such drugs to

slip in and out of consciousness, Porrata said.

"But it's not like they'll sit up and say, 'Hi, how are you,'" she

said.

They are more likely to react in response to an infliction of

pain, for example, Porrata said.

Defense Atty. John Barnett, who cross-examined Porrata, asked her

if it was possible that the girl was pretending to be unconscious.

Porrata replied that she did not see any reaction from the girl

even as the boys assaulted her with a Snapple bottle, a juice can, a

lighted cigarette and a pool cue.

"When foreign objects are inserted that can cause pain, it's hard

to pretend not to respond," she said.

Some date-rape drugs are up to 40 times stronger than Valium,

Porrata said.

The defense has maintained that the sexual acts were consensual

and that the girl was feigning unconsciousness. Prosecutors say one

of the boys handed the girl a mixed drink in a Styrofoam cup after

she arrived in the Haidl residence and told her that if she drank it,

it would "knock her out."

Haidl's attorney, Joseph Cavallo, asked Porrata if GHB could

dissolve a Styrofoam cup, to which she answered that the drug, in its

purest form, could melt one of those cups but not if mixed with a

fruit drink or cocktail.

The defense also brought up that no traces of any drugs were

detected in the girl's vomit or bloodstream. Porrata said that is

typical of date-rape drugs.

"GHB is in the bloodstream for only four hours and can be detected

in urine for only 12 hours after it's consumed," she said. "Rarely

does a person come forward within that time frame."

Testimony will continue today. Prosecutors are expected to put the

girl, known only as "Jane Doe," on the stand today.

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