Blue Crack Addict
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: A far distance down.
Local Time: 09:33 AM
"The O C" on TV is wanting
when compared to The Real OC
you got to love a conservative, beach town
where the homes start at a million dollars
everybody goes to church and there were 15 Bush/ Cheney signs for every Kerry/Edwards sign
Allegations are fewer, but the stakes are still high in the alleged Newport Beach assault.
Rape Charges Against Trio Will Get a Replay in 'Haidl II'
By Claire Luna
Times Staff Writer
February 7, 2005
Stories clash on what really happened that summer night in the garage of the $1.7-million ocean-view Corona del Mar mansion, the home of then-Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl.
But starting today, a second jury will try to decide: Was it rape? Or had the 16-year-old girl agreed to play along with the three teenage boys in a night of sex and heavy drinking?
Attorneys for the defendants, all high school students at the time, say the girl wanted to make a pornographic film and feigned unconsciousness on a pool table and a wicker couch while they engaged in sex play.
Prosecutors, however, say that what happened July 5, 2002, was criminal behavior in which the boys, 17 at the time, plied the girl with alcohol until she passed out, then took turns sexually assaulting her as they laughed, danced to hip-hop music and recorded it all on videotape.
The case against Kyle Nachreiner and Keith Spann, both now 20, and Gregory Haidl, the 19-year-old son of the former assistant sheriff, ended in a mistrial last summer after jurors deadlocked. The jury was leaning toward acquittal on nearly all counts.
Both Gregory Haidl and his accuser have been charged with other crimes, and Haidl is now in jail. His father resigned to focus on his family, he said. Another ranking sheriff's official was accused of interfering in the rape case and subsequently was arrested in an unrelated case.
And even after the case concluded, the media fed off it. The magazine Teen People put the case on its cover, and CBS' "48 Hours" dedicated an episode to the first trial.
"Haidl II," as the retrial has been dubbed in legal circles, will be a streamlined version of the case that consumed the county for much of last summer. Prosecutors have slashed the number of charges each defendant faces, along with their potential prison sentences if convicted.
Although each defendant no longer would face up to 55 years in prison, the stakes are still high. Convictions on all nine counts they now face could send them behind bars for up to 23 years each, or they could receive probation.
Allegations that the boys slipped GHB — or gamma hydroxybutyrate, the so-called date rape drug — into the girl's drink have been dropped, eliminating a tricky legal hurdle and the drawn-out testimony that came with it.
The case now rests on the assertion that the accuser, identified only as Jane Doe, was heavily intoxicated and can be seen on the videotape consuming a can of beer and 8.5 ounces of Bombay Sapphire gin from a foam cup.
Defense attorneys say the change in tactics helps their case.
The young woman testified in the first trial that at a Fourth of July party at Don Haidl's Corona del Mar house the night before the alleged rape on July 5, 2002, the young woman testified in the first trial that she chugged vodka from the bottle after downing several mixed drinks.
"The night before, she had a lot more to drink and was obviously intoxicated, yet she clearly remembers the events of that night," said one of Haidl's attorneys, Pete Scalisi.
"When the tape was made, she had to have known what was going on."
But Chief Assistant Dist. Atty. Chuck Middleton, who is prosecuting the case, said comparing the two nights isn't valid. Drunk people often have "questionable estimates" of exactly how much they have consumed, he said.
On July 5, 2002, the night the girl she says she was raped, Middleton said, she downed her drinks in less than half an hour, after having slept only a couple of hours the night before and working a full shift as a Coco's restaurant hostess.
"No matter how much you're in the habit of drinking, that 8.5 ounces of pure Bombay gin is going to be a shock to the system," Middleton said.
"It had a powerful effect on her, and it's all corroborated by the videotape," he said.
Jurors in the first trial saw the tape; the public has only heard it, when it was played in court.
The girl is heard only at the beginning of the 20-minute tape, teasing Haidl for trying to take off her shirt, then saying, "I am so [messed] up." Against a soundtrack of graphic rap music, the boys speak occasionally and luridly.
Those who have seen the tape disagree about what it shows. Some jurors from the first trial said the pillow under Jane Doe's head was evidence that her unconsciousness was staged. Another juror, the only one who wanted to convict the defendants on every count, said it was clear the girl had blacked out.
"The tape shows a severely intoxicated young lady who never opens her eyes and is not in control of her own body, period," Middleton said.
"All that talk of faking — you look at the video and it's just not there."
A complex path winds from the defendants' middle-class Rancho Cucamonga upbringing to Don Haidl's garage to the fluorescent lights of the 11th-floor Santa Ana courtroom where they will probably sit for the next two months. Spann, Nachreiner and the accuser still live in Rancho Cucamonga; Gregory Haidl moved to Orange County.
They met Jane Doe, a year behind them in school, during the summer after their junior year. She attended a neighboring high school and had mutual friends with Spann.
She met him at a McDonald's the night school ended for the summer, and within days had sex with him in a bedroom at a party, she testified. A few weeks later she attended the Fourth of July gathering at Don Haidl's home.
That night, she testified, she met Nachreiner and skinny-dipped with him, and later had sex separately with Gregory Haidl and then Spann.
Jane Doe drove with friends to the Fourth of July party, but returned by herself the next night. She said most of that night had become hazy, but insisted that she did not consent to sex. At the first trial, she said that she had never seen the video.
After seven weeks of testimony, jurors deliberated 13 hours before announcing they were "hopelessly deadlocked. When the foreman announced the breakdown in the 24 counts, most jurors had voted for acquittal on nearly every count.
Only one juror, a Laguna Beach fitness trainer, stood firm in her belief that the girl on the video was being raped and that the teens should be convicted on every count.
Although the media chronicled each twist in the first trial — beginning with Nachreiner and Haidl making obscene gestures to TV cameras on the way to their arraignment — the hoopla may be less intense this time because of the Robert Blake murder trial and the Michael Jackson molestation case.
"The attention for the next couple of months will be on Michael Jackson dancing across a parking lot, not clips of Greg being taken into custody," said Spann's lawyer, Peter Morreale.
"We took such a terrible bashing in the media before, and I don't want the impaneled jurors affected."
Since the first trial, the participants, even peripheral ones, have remained in the spotlight:
• At a celebration the night the jury deadlocked, Haidl met a 16-year-old girl and within two weeks had sex with her while she was pet-sitting in San Clemente. He was charged with statutory rape, and the judge from the gang-rape trial ordered him to follow a new set of restrictions or have his bail revoked. After being arrested in October on suspicion of driving under the influence, Haidl was placed in Orange County Jail until the retrial's conclusion.
• Haidl's father, a multimillionaire who built a fortune on an auto-auction business, resigned in late September from the Sheriff's Department to spend more time with his family, he said.
• The county's grand jury in September accused former Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo of conspiring to conceal an October 2003 incident in which deputies allegedly caught Gregory Haidl and two friends with a bag of marijuana. In a recorded conversation, Jaramillo and a lieutenant agreed not to log the incident in hopes that the media would not publicize it. Jaramillo had been fired in March 2004.
• In November, Jane Doe was charged with possession of methamphetamine for sale. She has pleaded not guilty.
Defense attorneys plan to use her arrest to discredit her credibility and her memory, but prosecutors say that is yet another tactic to distract jurors from the alleged rape and the people responsible.
The prosecutor in the first trial, Dan Hess, acknowledged then that Jane Doe had "made some bad choices" as a teenager. The prosecutor in the retrial — Middleton, Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas' No. 2 man — has indicated he may go further in recognizing her promiscuity and then emphasize that it is irrelevant to her rape allegations.
During jury selection, he posed hypothetical questions to several prospective jurors: Can a prostitute be raped? Does a prostitute have the right to say no?
Exposing the accuser's faults from the start, Middleton said, is intended to counter the defense's strategy in the first trial: Attack her credibility and turn her into the aggressor, Middleton said. "No matter who a person is and what she has done in the past everyone has an absolute right to control their own body."
Jane Doe will be the prosecution's first witness.