D.A. refiles in gang-rape case

Deepa Bharath

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

previous trial.

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

withdraw consent."

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

prayer pose."

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

said.

"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

me."

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

deepa.bharath@latimes.com.

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