A juvenile judge ruled two high school football stars delinquent in a high-profile rape case.
Trent Mays, 17, will serve at least two years in a juvenile facility and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, will serve at least one year and could remain in detention until the age of 21.
Mays and Richmond sobbed the moment Judge Thomas Lipps announced his ruling Sunday morning. The decision came on the fifth day of a trial that captured the country's attention.
Over four days of testimony, prosecutors used witnesses and thousands of text messages and social media posts to present their view that the victim was highly intoxicated and unaware of what was happening to her. The defendants assaulted her when she could barely move and certainly not resist, making her "the perfect victim," state prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter said.
Defense attorneys painted a different picture. They said the girl had a reputation of lying and heavy drinking, that she was "all over" the defendants at a party, and said she never lost consciousness or the ability to make decisions.
The victim, a Catholic school girl from across the Ohio River in Weirton, W.Va., testified for more than two hours Saturday.
She said she had a crush on Mays, the quarterback on Steubenville High's popular "Big Red" football team, and trusted him before that night in August. She said she did not remember being assaulted by the defendants, once in a car as a buddy took video, and later on the floor of a basement while other teens watched and took photos.
Her memory returned in the morning, when she awoke on a couch in that basement, naked and confused. The victim testified she could not find her underwear, cell phone, earrings or shoes.
"It was really scary," she said. "I was embarrassed and scared and I honestly did not know what to think because I couldn't remember anything."
The case sparked international outrage in the fall after an online "hacktivist" group called Anonymous published incendiary evidence online, including a photo of the suspects carrying the girl by her ankles and wrists. Protesters wearing masks, the symbol of Anonymous, gathered outside the justice center throughout the trial and returned Sunday for the verdict.
"We're not going anywhere," said one masked protester, who identified himself as AnonymousSphere. "We could be anywhere."
By Chris Togneri - The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (MCT)
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