Teen gang rape case dismissed, refiled
DA motion comes after time runs out to bring suspect to trial
BARSTOW• The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office dismissed the case Thursday against the last of the four suspects facing charges for the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl, then refiled the charges against Darnell Brown the same day, court records showed.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Julie Peterson said, under the law, time had run out to bring Brown to trial.
“The law says we have a certain amount of time to get a case to trial,” Peterson said.
The deputy district attorney assigned to the case, Connie Lasky, had been out “due to a medical leave situation,” which caused prosecution to be unprepared for trial, Peterson said.
“We didn’t want to switch prosecutors on a case like that,” she said, noting Lasky’s familiarity with the case and that she had been in contact with the victim numerous times.
Darnell Brown, 32, was held to answer in August for rape of a drugged victim, participating in a criminal street gang and other charges.
Prosecutors dropped charges against the other three men after DNA evidence failed to implicate them in the alleged crime.
According to previous reports, in February 2007, the teen victim told police she had been taken to an apartment on the 900 block of Carson Street where she was forced to drink alcohol. She said she was then raped by four men in two different apartments.
In connection with his arrest last February, Brown had also been charged with possession of marijuana for sale and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, court records showed.
The DA’s office dismissed that case also, but decided not to refile charges.
“Our focus at this time is the rape case,” Peterson said.
Brown is due to appear at Barstow Superior Court on Wednesday for a pre-preliminary hearing, according to court records. He is currently in custody in lieu of $1 million bail, court records showed.
Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com.