Acquital Sparks Furor in Courtroom

This trial lasted for three days. After the first day, the following article was published:

TEENS TESTIFY TRIO RAPED THEM IN WOODS

Only suspect charged is standing trial

A tale of sordid group sexual assault, drugs, misidentification of suspects and misguided revenge shootings unfolded Tuesday in a rape trial at Monroe County Courthouse.

Two white teen-age girls were sexually assaulted repeatedly by three black men near a well-known Pocono resort on August 20, 2000. That much is undispatched.

In addition, police allege that two brothers – one of the boyfriend of one victim, and both brothers to the other – trying to avenge the attack, shot up a car with two black men inside the next night in Bushkill. But the girlfriend testified Tuesday that she misidentified the black men to the brothers and police because “they all look alike.”

On trial is Anthony Kelly, 20, of Brooklyn, whom the two victims identified in court as one of the rapists.

Kelly has maintained his innocence. No other suspects have been charged.

Both girls, now 18, have the following story of what happened late one summer evening in front of the Game Zone in Bushkill.

They testified they were smoking marijuana shortly before 11 p.m. when one girl motioned to a “kid with pretty eyes” to cross the road and join them.

The three talked for a while, then, the girls said, the teen-age boy, whom they identified as Kelly, asked one the girls if they were interested in oral sex.

Both girls declined, saying they already had boyfriends and “were tattooed, “ meaning they were taken.

The girls told the court they walked with the teen-ager to a house near Fernwood Resort, where the Game Zone is located. They met with two other males, whom the girls referred to as “kids,” and the girls were repeatedly sexually assaulted, and one girl was violated with a handgun.

The South Philadelphia brothers who allegedly tried to exact revenge, Frank A. Calabrese, 20, and Michael A. Calabrese, 24, along with Frank Calabrese’s girlfriend – one of the rape victims – are facing several felony aggravated assault charges.

Police said Hodaro Grant of East Stroudsburg and Lorenzo C. Scott-Wallace of Bushkill were identified as two of the rapists by Frank Calabrese’s girlfriend. The Calabrese brothers, police charge, shot up the car as it passed on Route 209 the day after the assaults.

According to Sherri Stephan, the assistant Monroe County district attorney prosecuting the case, the two girls described “to a T” Kelly’s room in a house owned by his brother. The girls and Kelly, they testified, walked to the house after meeting at the Game Zone.

The girls were vacationing with the family at the Fernwood Resort’s Villas.

Defense attorney Michael Ventrella, Monroe County public defender, acknowledged that a terrible crime had occurred, and the girls were victims, but he said they had misidentified Kelly as one of the attackers.

The girls said on the stand that one man pulled out a gun after luring them into the woods by telling them there was a shortcut back to their villa.

The men robbed the girls, then demanded they strip off their clothes. One girl was forced to perform oral sex on all three men, but the men did not force her to have intercourse once they confirmed she had her boyfriend’s name tattooed below her waist, the girl testified.

The other girl testified that one of the rapists penetrated her with a gun and said, “Welcome to the Poconos.”

Ventrella asked the tattooed girl what her boyfriend’s middle name, and the victim said she did not know.

“You mean you have his name tattooed on your crotch but you even don’t know his middle name?” Ventrella asked.

The victim broke down sobbing, and Ventrella apologized.

Ventrella brought out that on several occasions both victims misidentified a variety black men as their assailants in picture and yearbook lineups.

Following their arrest, the Calabreses and the girlfriend were released on their own recognizance and are awaiting trial in March.

When the Calabrese brothers were not charged with attempted murder and were released without bail, Grant’s step-father, Will Carmen, said, “If the show was on the other foot and these two (Grant and Scott-Wallace) did the shooting, and there was a couple of white guys involved, they’d still be in jail because the bail would be too high to get them out.”

Kelly is being held in the Monroe County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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After the second day of the trial, the following article was published:

GUEST: RAPE VICTIMS WERE NOT AT HOUSE

Teen-agers who were assaulted described suspect’s home to cops

A guest staying in the Bushkill home where two rape victims said they visited with the defendant on the night of the crime directly refuted their story Wednesday.
Dianna Pope, 16, of Lake of the Pines, was staying overnight at the home of Ionia Quick and testified that the defendant, Anthony Kelly, 20, returned home alone at about 10:30 p.m. August 20, 2000.

The two victims testified Tuesday that Kelly had taken them with him into the house and upstairs to his room that night.

Pope, who said she stays over at the Quick residence when her mother works at night, said she was in the kitchen getting a glass of water when “Tony” returned home.

The prosecution charges that Kelly met the two teen-age victims at the Game Zone at Fernwood Resort, took them to the house, called two other men over to the Quick house, them conned the girls into walking into the nearby woods where the attack took place.

Through his attorney, Kelly asserts the girls have mistakenly identified him. He said he never met them, and never took part in the crime.

In the second day of the trial a forensic expert, Richard Saferstein, said his reading of the DNA testing done by the Pennsylvania State Police laboratory confirm that Kelly’s DNA was not present in semen samples taken from the neck of one of the victims.

At gunpoint, the victim asserted, she was forced to perform oral sex on all three men. The prosecution, headed by Assistant District Attorney Sherri Stephan, previously told the jury that Kelly had not ejaculated.

Two of the suspects have never been identified nor apprehended.

Pope said that if the two victims had gone upstairs she would have heard them in Kelly’s room because the “walls are thin and he can call to me and I hear him.”

The victims said they spent five minutes in the room.

Pope also testified that her dog, Armani, was in the garage and the dog “barks at everyone, even if they know him.”

Quick, who is Kelly’s step-mother, said she went to bed at about 9 p.m., but slept lightly and always heard people coming into the house or parking outside.

The two victims said they stood in the driveway of the Quick home smoking and talking to the three men before they went off into the woods.

Quick said her dog, Toby, barks when anyone comes into the house, and barked a few times at Kelly, then stopped on the night of the rape.

The prosecution has focused on the description of the Quick home given by the two girls prior to police inspecting the premises. Stephan said the description fit what police later observed.

Defense attorney Michael Ventrella, a Monroe County public defender, spent Wednesday trying to knock down their identification of the Quick home and implying that there are many similar homes in the development which is full of black families with teen-agers who came from New York City.

Grant and Scott-Wallace were cleared as suspect through DNA testing, as was Uthmaan Muhammad, 19, who lived in Lake of the Pines and that “45 to 50 percent of the families in the development came from New York City,” like Kelly’s family did.

One of the victims, who testified Tuesday that two of three men were definitely not circumcised, was recalled to the stand Wednesday. She said she did not know what the word “circumcised” meant. “I did not look. It was dark,” she said.

The victim, whom the Pocono Record is not identifying, has been charged along with two South Philadelphia men of trying to avenge the rape by shooting at two black men she mistakenly identified as rapists.

Wednesday the prosecution granted her immunity in her upcoming trial for aggravated assault for anything she might testify to in the rape trial.

Frank A. Calabrese, 20, and Michael A. Calabrese, 24, along with Frank Calabrese’s girlfriend – one of the rape victims – are facing several felony aggravated assault charges. The other rape is the sister of the accused brothers.

Hodari Grant of East Stroudsburg and Lorenzo C. Scott-Wallace of Bushkill were mistakenly identified as two of the rapists by one of the victims.

Police charge the Calabreses shot up local men’s car as it passed on Route 209 the day after the assaults. Four bullets struck the car. Police later recovered a gun matching the recovered bullets shell from the home of Michael Calabrese in Philadelphia.

The two victims are white and one said Tuesday that she made many mistakes identifying the wrong young men as her attacker because “(Blacks) all look alike.”

The Calabreses and the girlfriend are awaiting trial in March for the shootings.

Kelly is being held in the Monroe County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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After closing arguments on the third day, the jurors came back with a not guilty finding on all counts, leading to the following article:

ACQUITTAL SPARKS FUROR IN COURTROOM

Screaming abuse, rape victims and families hauled away after jury clears defendant

Anthony Kelly was found not guilty Thursday in a racially charged trial of raping two teen-age girls.

Screaming racial epithets at the black defendant, the two victims writhed and flailed on the floor after the jury of eight women and four men acquitted Kelly after 2 ½ hours of deliberations.

Monroe County sheriff’s deputies dragged the screaming girls from the courtroom.

The flushed mother of one girl, her faced contorted with rage, clambered onto a spectator’s bench and shouted, “I’ll never come back here, you hear that, I’ll never come back here!” The deputies firmly escorted her out of the courtroom.

The defendant, who took the stand in his own defense Thursday, shook and sobbed quietly as the jury forewoman intoned, “not guilty” over and over for each charge.

The charges against Kelly arose from the brutal rape of the girls on Aug. 20, 2000, in the woods at Lake of the Pines.

Kelly’s acquittal means none of the rapists have been identified.

Both the defense and the prosecution acknowledged that the girls had been raped. The defense, led by attorney Michael Ventrella, Monroe County public defender, asserted that the South Philadelphia tourists, who were 16 at the time, mistakenly identified Kelly.

The jury agreed, and Kelly, a 20-year-old Brooklyn man who has been in Monroe County Correctional Facility for eight months on $50,000 bail, was freed.

On Thursday after the verdict, Kelly was kept in the courtroom for his own safety until the sheriff’s deputies had restored order and herded incensed families into the district attorney’s offices.

“You raped me!” one of the girls screamed at Kelly as she was hustled out of the courtroom. Her screams were laced with racial insults and vulgarities.

As the verdict recitation commenced, the girls’ began a keening that changed to wailing. “I can’t believe it. He raped me,” one pleaded. “Oh God, how can they do that?”

As the “not guilty” rolled on, the girls, now 18, fell to the floor thrashing and yelling.

Afterward, Ventrella said, “I’m glad to see justice done, but sorry Tony had to sit in jail for eight months for a crime he never committed.”

Much of the defense was built on investigation work by Wilson E. Miller, staff investigator for the public defender’s office. “He deserves a lot of credit,” Ventrella said.

“I’m disappointed,” commented Sherri Stephan, assistant Monroe County district attorney. “There was ample evidence. Clearly juries expect a lot of physical evidence,” she said.

Kelly testified Thursday that he was asleep in his bed at te home of Iona Quick, his brother’s stepmother who lives in Lake of the Pines, when the attack occurred.

Kelly, who is blind in one eye, told the jury “I did not do that, I would never do anything like that.”

in his closing, Ventrella concentrated on the lack of any physical evidence tying Kelly to the crime, and the series of wrong identifications made by the girls from the picture lineups.

He cautioned the jury to weigh the girls’ testimony against their reputation for veracity. He noted one lied to police about the revenge shootings, and the other had a record of receiving stolen property.

Both girls had been smoking marijuana in front of the Game Zone at the Fernwood resort when they testified that they engaged Kelly in conversation. The girls described him as having light brown eyes, dreadlocks, being from the Bronx, with a name starting with “E”, thin and standing 6 feet tall.

Ventrella pointed out in his closing that none of these characteristics fit Kelly. Kelly, who is about 5-foot-10, stocky, with dark brown eyes, walked in front of the jurors so they cuold get a good look at him.

Stephan attributed many of the mistakes the girls made in the days and weeks following the rapes to their traumatized condition.

Ventrella said that it was understandable that the girls and their families would want justice for what happened but warned the jury “You don’t want to create a scapegoat to make these girls feel better.”

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