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Trials set for teens accused in sex case

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / May 13, 1998

HAHNVILLE – The trial dates for nine of the 11 accused in an alleged gang- rape incident on the east bank of St. Charles Parish were set Mondaybefore ad hoc Judge Edward Delayoussaye.

Prosecutor Kim McElwee of 29th Judicial District Attorney Harry Morel’s office said in court she will target Kentrell Jenkins, 18, as the instigator of the alleged incident, and try him separately on July 21 on three counts each of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and being an accessory to carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

The case, which normally would be before Judge Kirk Granier, will instead be heard by Delayoussaye because Granier, a U.S. Air Force Reserve officer,will be on duty as a judge advocate at the scheduled time of the trials.

Other defendants who face a July 21 trial date are Lance Carter, 19, New Sarpy; Dwayne Donald, 17, St. Rose; Reynard Evers, 18, St. Rose; LeonardHarris, 17, St. Rose; Jose Hipkiss, 19, Destrehan; Wyndell Mitchell, 19,Destrehan; and Wendell Smith, 18, New Sarpy.

Hipkiss is charged with crime against nature. Joseph Johnson III, 17, St.Rose, faces a July 23 trial date. Donald, Harris and Johnson are chargedwith pornography involving juveniles.

All those arraigned have pleaded not guilty.

Cleophas Green III, 17, St. Rose, is due to be arraigned on May 18 on thecharge of sexual battery. The trial of Marcus Bates, 17, St. Rose, is beinghandled in juvenile court, as he was 16 years old at the time of the alleged incident. He is charged with sexual battery.The incident involved a 15-year-old girl who allegedly was taken by her boyfriend to locales in St. Rose, Destrehan and New Sarpy where severalother males raped her. In at least one occasion, the rape was reportedlyvideotaped, but a copy has not surfaced for investigators. She finallyinformed police some time after the incidents.

Some defendants have admitted to having sex with the girl but insist the sexual relations were with her consent.

However, Louisiana law states consensual sexual relations with a 15- year-old is carnal knowledge of a juvenile, when the partner is two or more years older than the victim.

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