A judge has ruled that one of seven defendants will be released Tuesday night due to insufficient evidence in connection with the beating and gang rape of a 16-year-old girl at a Richmond High School homecoming dance.
The 16-year-old defendant will not be held to answer on any charges following the conclusion of a lengthy preliminary hearing at Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez.
Five of the remaining defendants still face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted, prosecutor Dara Cashman said. And one is now facing a maximum of eight years in prison. The defendants range in age from 17 to 43.
The girl was thought to be dead when a police officer found her partially nude body underneath a picnic table in October 2009. She was covered in vomit with condom wrappers scattered nearby.
Investigators believe around 10 people raped the student for two hours while others watched without reporting it. This sparked the Senate to consider a new bill that would require witnesses to report murders or rapes of minors.
This ruling wraps up the preliminary hearing that started on Nov. 15.
Bay City news contributed to this report.