Attackers in St. Paul gang rape blame defendant
- Article by: CHAO XIONG
- Star Tribune
- December 14, 2012 - 9:56 PM
A frightened girl pulled forcibly into a vacant house ran to her friend for help, but he stalled, allowing four men and four boys to converge on her in a brutal rape, testified one of the teens who participated.
Shaileng Lor testified Friday that he and Johnny Her dragged the girl, then 15, kicking and screaming from a car and into a house on White Bear Avenue in St. Paul last year. When she saw her friend, Mang Yang, inside, she called out to him for help. Lor said he and Her let go of the girl.
She ran to Yang.
"He said, 'You got to wait a bit,' and then all the lights went out," testified Lor, who pleaded guilty in July to his role in the crime and is serving eight years in prison.
That's when the girl was dragged into a bedroom as she kicked, screamed and clawed at the door frame.
Lor and codefendant Xou Yang, both 17, testified Friday that Mang Yang, 24, and Kong Meng Vang, 38, planned the attack. Xou Yang, who also pleaded guilty and is serving eight years, also named Johnny Her, 16, as one of the planners.
Mang Yang faces four felony charges, including rape and committing a crime for the benefit of a gang. Five defendants already pleaded guilty in the rape, which happened on Nov. 17, 2011. Two others are scheduled to go on trial this month, and the last is an active juvenile case with few public details. There are nine defendants, including Yang.
Authorities and the defendants themselves have said most are members of the True Blood (TB22) gang or the Blood Brothers gang, which are affiliated. At least two codefendants are not gang members, Lor and Xou Yang testified.
The victim's female friend testified Friday that she, the victim and other friends planned to go to the Myth night club that night and wanted to have some drinks beforehand.
They asked Mang Yang to pick them up.
The friend, now 19 and not named because of Ramsey County prosecutors' concerns for her safety, said they ended up at Kong Meng Vang's house, where they drank beer purchased by Mang Yang. She said that some of the other defendants showed up. After a few hours, everyone headed to Vang's previous home, a foreclosed house on White Bear Avenue, about 11:30 p.m. The last of the defendants showed up at that home, she testified.
Given lots of alcohol
The friend said that after being plied with beer and shots of hard liquor she and the victim started to refuse. She said Mang Yang gave the victim two to three drinks at the second house. Lor and Xou Yang testified that they, Kong Meng Vang, Jim Her, 18, and Johnny Her also gave the girl drinks.
"We kept saying no," the 19-year-old friend testified. She also said that she asked Mang Yang twice to drive them home.
"He kept talking to the other guys," she testified. "He acted like he didn't hear me."
Twice she asked for his phone so she could call for a ride.
"I told her I had a bad feeling about the environment," she said.
She took the victim with her outside and put the girl, who was intoxicated, in the backseat of Mang Yang's car. She observed Lor and Johnny Her trying to wake up the victim.
The friend said she walked down the street to determine where she was so she could give directions to a friend on the phone. When she turned around, she testified, the victim was gone. She told the court that she saw the defendants fleeing from the house.
Lor testified that they ran out after Mang Yang told Kong Meng Vang that the police were coming.
"If you guys had not run away, what was the plan?" asked prosecutor Heidi Westby.
"To rape her," Lor said.
"Who was going to rape her?" Westby asked.
"Everybody," Lor said.
Lor and Xou Yang admitted to holding the girl down. They both said Vang Vue took off his pants and climbed on top of the girl. They said his body movements mimicked sexual intercourse. Her testified that Mang Yang was in the room, unzipped his pants and called for a turn raping the girl.
Testified against friends
Mang Yang's attorney, Christopher Champagne, trained his cross-examination on the fact that Lor and Xou Yang received considerably less prison time for their guilty pleas, in exchange for testifying against anyone who went to trial.
Champagne noted that many of the defendants who pleaded guilty are close friends or relatives, implying that they had time between their arrest and indictment to plan their story.
"Part of your plan was to say Mang Yang was the planner?" Champagne asked Lor.
"He was," Lor said.
Westby quickly tried to dismantle Champagne's defense by pointing out that Lor implicated himself as well as good friends.
Jim Her is scheduled to testify Monday, with closing arguments possible on Tuesday.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib
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