MARTINEZ -- Attorneys presenting different accounts of the same incident to a jury Thursday morning agreed on one thing: An East Bay woman and two West Contra Costa men who met in San Francisco were drunk when they ended up in a pickup truck on a San Pablo street in the early hours of Valentine's Day 2010.
Prosecutor Chad Mahalich, in his opening statements in the kidnapping and sexual assault trial of half-brothers Derrick Ware and Robert McNeally, described it as "a night out with friends that ended in terror."
Attorney Christopher Martin, representing McNeally, called it "a tragic case of young people ... drunk to such an incredible extent they were doing things they would not otherwise do."
The night began, Martin told the jury, with thewoman, who is not being named because she says she's the victim of sexual abuse, and several friends drinking vodka shots at a residence. The group continued consuming vodka on BART en route to San Francisco, Martin said. The group's plan was to bar hop in the Mission District, then spend the night with friends who lived in the city¿.
For unexplained reasons, the victim and a male friend decided, after leaving club Medjool, to return to their homes in the East Bay. At around 1:30 a.m., they met Richmond resident Ware, 29, San Pablo resident McNeally, 32, and their cousin Dameon Spragans, who had been drinking at the Blue Macaw. With BART shut down for the night and unable to hail a cab, the woman and her friend accepted a ride to the East Bay in exchange for gas money.
Mahalich said the victim passed out in the back of McNeally's black pickup truck en route to the East Bay. Ware, he said, began groping her. When the victim's friend complained McNeally wasn't taking them home, the prosecutor said, McNeally stopped at a remote location in Richmond. The prosecutor said the friend exited the truck and was punched by Spragans. Spragans re-entered the truck, which left the victim's friend in the dust.
Next, Mahalich said, McNeally drove to San Pablo and parked on Yuba Street. The victim, he said, regained consciousness en route and was told she would be taken home in exchange for sexual favors. When she resisted, McNeally stopped the truck.
The prosecutor said Spragans took the victim out of the truck, smashed her head against the side of the vehicle and threw her to the ground. The victim then was placed back in the truck, Mahalich told the jury, where she was raped and sodomized by Ware while being subjected to forcible oral copulation by McNeally as Spragans held and punched her. The three men eventually drove off, leaving her bloodied and dazed.
Shortly before 4 a.m., Mahalich said, the victim knocked on the door of a nearby house, where the occupant gave her a blanket and called 911. She was taken to Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo with multiple injuries. She was later transferred to San Francisco General Hospital.
Using surveillance photos, cell phone logs and public records, police said they were able to identify Ware, McNeally and Spragans as well as trace McNeally's truck to an auto body shop in Vallejo, where it had been painted silver and outfitted with new license plates.
Martin contended the woman was conscious and flirting with Ware during the trip across the Bay Bridge and her friend was dumped when he became "obnoxious" and refused to pay McNeally the agreed-upon gas money. The victim, Martin told the jury, consented to a "ménage a trois" with Ware and McNeally.
Spragans, who is being tried separately, threw her to the ground, Martin said, because she would not have sex with him. He said the woman reported she was raped because she had just reconciled with a boyfriend. Hours after the incident, he said, her blood-alcohol level was .29, well above the legal limit of .08.
"We've got a lot of dry tinder on both sides," Martin told the jury. "Your job as jurors is to get the full story."
Ware and McNeally are charged with aggravated kidnapping, forcible rape in concert, forcible oral copulation in concert, forcible sodomy in concert and assault with a deadly weapon, as well as several enhancements.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.