Suspects in UMass rape case to give DNA samples
NORTHAMPTON -- Four teens suspected of raping a University of Massachusetts student in her dorm room last fall agreed during a pretrial conference in Hampshire Superior Court on Tuesday to provide DNA samples.
Pittsfield residents Justin A. King, Emmanuel Toffee Bile, both 18, and Caleb Womack, 17, of Windsor Locks, Conn., each face three counts of aggravated rape. Adam T. Liccardi, 18, of Pittsfield, faces an additional count of allegedly staying behind after the others left and raping the student again.
According to Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl, the court order for buccual swabs -- saliva samples from the inside of the suspects' mouths -- is standard during the pretrial portion of a case.
Through their attorneys, Bile, Womack and Liccardi agreed to provide the samples. King had already submitted his DNA at the time of his arrest in October, Suhl said. The judge scheduled April 10 for the three to have their DNA taken in Northampton.
The pretrial conference was continued until May 2.
Suhl said that although all four teens have been in court at the same time for many of the hearings, it doesn't mean they'll all be tried together if the cases go to trial.
"All the cases are on the same track, but whether they are tried together or not depends on how things play out in court," she said. "It makes the case move more smoothly if we're all on the same track."
The charges stem from an incident on Oct. 13, when prosecutors say the four teens, none of them students at UMass, gained access to the alleged victim's room in the Mildred Pierpont House dormitory and waited for her to return.
UMass Police officials told The Eagle three of the four were signed into the dormitory by a student whose identity is being withheld. It's still unclear how the fourth teen gained access, or which of the four it was.
To gain access to a UMass dormitory past 8 p.m., a visitor has to check in with the person working the front desk, provide picture identification and be signed in by a student living in that dorm. The alleged assault has prompted a full review of the school's security measures, and meetings between campus police, students and officials are continuing.
According to the police report, the alleged victim returned to her room intoxicated with two friends from a party, and after discovering the four males in her room, agreed they could stay.
She told police the seven people there spent the next two hours drinking more alcohol and smoking marijuana, which one of the Pittsfield teens allegedly had brought.
Shortly after the alleged victim's friends left, one of the teens turned off the lights and one of them "attacked her on her bed and began ripping her clothes off," the police report states.
The student said that despite her intoxication and going in and out of consciousness throughout the nearly two-hour assault, she was able to identify each of the teens that raped her.
"This only came to an end when she was alert enough to form words and was crying in pain for them to stop," the UMass Police report states.
Attorneys for the defendants have maintained their clients' innocence, stating that any sexual activity between the teens and the student was completely consensual.
Because of the student's admitted drug and alcohol use, it's unclear at this time if she is still enrolled at UMass.
"I can't comment on whether she is still attending classes or not at this time," Suhl said.
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