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2 Murrieta teens in court for alleged sex crimes

September 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two high school football players charged with sex crimes involving at least six girls were in court Tuesday morning. The juvenile detention hearing was closed to the public, but when it was over, family and friends of the suspects and alleged victims spewed their anger at each other.

The suspects, whose names are not being released because they are minors, are seniors this year at Vista Murrieta High School. Both are 17 years old. One suspect is a highly recruited star running back, the other a defensive lineman.

"They were really nice kids," said student Jayme Hazelwood. "It was just really surprising."

According to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, one of the suspects is charged with two counts of rape involving two victims and two counts of lewd acts with a girl under 14, three counts of false imprisonment and one count of dissuading a victim from reporting a crime.

AJ Williams, one of the suspect's friends, said he doesn't think there was rape at all; he thinks the alleged victims are lying.

"I don't think any of this is true. We know teens and we know how they are, and they feel like they can target him, because he's a great football player at Vista," said Williams.

While the District Attorney's Office can't say what the charges are for the other suspect, his lawyer tells Eyewitness News that the teen is charged with sexual assault, but he says it was consensual. The teen's mother spoke to the media after the hearing.

"He's a great kid. If you knew his character, you can just meet him and know what type of character he has in his heart, and all of his friends that know him know the type of person he is. He's very humble," she said.

A judge allowed the second suspect to go home as long as he was under his parents' supervision. But the first suspect was not allowed to go home, and his father said after the proceeding that there was no good news for him.

In the parking lot, there were confrontations with the victims' parents and supporters of the suspects. A father had to be restrained when he saw a friend of one of the suspects talking with the media.

The criminal investigation began on Aug. 29. Officials say the investigation revealed the alleged incidents occurred off campus, and the arrests were made Thursday.

School district officials issued a statement saying they are "shocked" and "disappointed" to hear about the arrests.

"We are cooperating with the Murrieta Police Department on their investigation. We have counselors available should students want to speak with somebody about this incident," the district said.


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