SANTA ANA -- The Orange County district attorney on Friday filed a
pared-down version of the initial complaint in the trial of a
high-profile gang-rape case, hoping that it would "simplify" the case
for prospective jurors the second time around, officials said.
Prosecutors have filed nine felony complaints against Greg Haidl,
the son of Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl, Kyle Nachreiner
and Keith Spann, including rape and oral copulation by intoxication,
sexual penetration by intoxication and assault with a deadly weapon
-- in this case a pool cue.
Prosecutors say the three defendants, all now 19, raped an
unconscious 16-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her with a
Snapple bottle, a juice can, a lighted cigarette and a pool cue as
she lay on a pool table in the garage of the assistant sheriff's
Corona del Mar home in July 2002. The teenagers also made a videotape
capturing the incident, which jurors watched several times during the
If convicted on all nine counts, the defendants could face a
minimum of probation and a maximum of 23 years in state prison.
On June 29, an eight-man, four-woman jury hopelessly deadlocked on
all 24 counts forcing Judge Francisco Briseno to declare a mistrial.
Jurors voted 11 to 1 for acquittal on some of the counts, which the
district attorney's office has not charged this time.
Because prosecutors believe that "justice must be done," they're
placing paramount importance on a conviction in this case, said
Deputy Dist. Atty. Susan Schroeder.
"This case stands for so much more than just one victim," she
said. "It stands for a woman's right to say 'no' and her right to
Defense attorneys said their clients maintain their innocence and
that the sexual acts were consensual. The defense filed a motion to
dismiss the charges, stating that it is a waste of taxpayer money
because no jury was going to reach a verdict in a case where the
victim's credibility is in question.
"It'll be difficult for 12 people to agree on this case,"
Nachreiner's attorney John Barnett said. "It's just too emotional."
Schroeder disagreed with the defense's theory.
"One jury could see it one way," she said. "But a second jury
could see it differently. We've had cases in the past when we got a
11 to 1 for acquittal and then succeeded in getting a conviction the
second time. It's happened before."
The district attorney's office dissected the case and came to a
conclusion that former jurors had a problem with the penalty the
teenagers would face if convicted, Schroeder said. They were facing
55 years and eight months in prison.
"But now we've brought the minimum penalty to nothing," she said.
"Obviously it was tough on the jurors because they had these three
defendants looking at them for two months with their hands in a
Prosecutors also carefully considered the benefits of trying the
defendants separately, Schroeder said.
"We decided to try them together for tactical reasons," she said.
"We didn't do it for monetary reasons."
Jane Doe was "absolutely devastated by the jury unable to reach a
verdict," Schroeder said.
"She is willing to go through any number of trials to make sure
justice is done in this case," she said.
The prosecution has also appointed a co-counsel to assist Deputy
Dist. Atty. Dan Hess, who was promoted to senior assistant district
attorney on Friday. Chief Asst. Dist. Atty. Chuck Middleton, who is
No. 2 in the chain of command at the district attorney's office, will
take on that task.
Middleton is an experienced trial lawyer who has experience in
sexual assault cases as well as high-profile cases, Schroeder said.
Defense attorneys don't see the need to make any drastic changes
in trial strategy, said Haidl's attorney, Pete Scalisi, who was
co-counsel during the first trial. Joseph Cavallo, who was the lead
attorney, withdrew for personal reasons.
The defense will likely bring in colorectal expert Marvin Corman
and neurologist Harris Fisk whose testimony was "invaluable," Scalisi
"Their testimony created that reasonable doubt in jurors' minds
about whether Jane Doe was conscious or not and also about her
willingness to participate in the sexual acts," Scalisi said.
Jane Doe's testimony will still play a major role in the retrial,
Spann's attorney Pete Morreale said.
"The most important witness is Jane Doe," he said. "And the
prosecution can't get rid of her."
A small group of women protested outside the courthouse during the
hearing Friday displaying banners that read: "No one deserves to be
raped," "Justice for Jane Doe" and "Don't blame the victim."
Alyse Mousette, one of the protesters, said she was disturbed that
a jury that saw a videotape of an alleged crime could not arrive at a
verdict favorable to the girl.
"When I saw and heard about this case I thought it would be an
open-and-shut case," she said. "But then it wasn't, and this girl was
getting raped all over again in the media. And that really bothers
Gail Schwartz, who was holding one of the banners, said she wants
to see more victims taken seriously.
"We're not part of a group," she said, speaking for others
participating in the protest. "We're just concerned citizens, who are
speaking out on behalf of past, present and future victims."
A bail hearing for Greg Haidl has been scheduled for Tuesday at 10
a.m. A new trial date has been set for Oct. 18. A preliminary hearing
is scheduled for Sept. 10, when the judge is expected to rule on the
defense's motion to dismiss all charges.
* DEEPA BHARATH is the enterprise and general assignment reporter.
She may be reached at (949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at