DA explains first-degree and third-degree rape charges
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A Denham Springs teenager was indicted on Wednesday, May 3, by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury for his alleged role in an assault in the case of LSU student Madison Brooks back in January.
District Attorney Hillar Moore said he could not talk specifically about the facts of this case but explained how, in general, someone could be indicted this way.
“The grand jury was presented all available information at the time of the arrest and following the arrest,” explained Moore.
Investigators alleged Brooks was raped by two men in the back seat of a car that was being driven by Casen Carver, 18. The grand jury indicted Carver on charges of both first-degree and third-degree rape.
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“You can commit a similar defense such as sex or homicide and violate two different statutes,” added Moore.
First-degree rape in Louisiana occurs when two or more offenders take part in the crime. The law defines participation as taking part in the rape or physically assisting in the “commission” of the act.
Third-degree rape includes assaults where the victim is intoxicated and unable to consent. Brooks’ blood alcohol content was .319 percent, which is almost four times the legal level.
“There was enough evidence provided to them that they convict under those circumstances. In this case, we got two separate sex offenses,” continued Moore.
Carver had previously been booked on a lesser charge of principal to third-degree rape.
“Under Louisiana law, everyone that participates, aids, and abets is a principle,” said Moore.
An indictment only means the grand jury believes there is enough evidence to go forward with a trial.
A first-degree rape conviction in Louisiana carries a mandatory life sentence. A third-degree rape conviction in the state carries a sentence of no more than 25 years in prison.
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