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Guilty pleas in vigilante baseball bat attack

12-5-2013 California:

A Temecula father, his teen daughter and her friend have pleaded guilty in connection with the vigilante beating of a man the girl had accused of raping her.

The father, David Ray Mills, 36, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Dec. 4, to being an accessory to the Jan. 13 attack at a Temecula park in which Miguel Esteban Cruz, 20, was beaten with a baseball bat. Mills was sentenced to four years’ probation and time served.

Mills’ 16-year-old daughter, who was charged as an adult, pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to time served and four years’ probation. The Press-Enterprise does not routinely identify victims of sexual crimes.

Her friend, Andre Edwin Dickerson Jr., 21, who carried out the beating, pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to six years in prison.

All three defendants had been charged with attempted murder, mayhem and vandalism. But those charges were dismissed as part of the defendants’ agreements with prosecutors.

John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office, said in a written statement that prosecutors reached the plea agreements after a thorough review of the evidence.

“We believe the pleas and sentences in this case reflect what would have happened had the case proceeded to trial,” Hall said.

The beating victim, now 21, also was charged with a crime after the girl’s allegations came to light following the attack. Cruz pleaded guilty in September to sodomy with a minor. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 20.

Riverside County sheriff’s investigators have said the girl, then 15, lured Cruz to Kent Hintergardt Memorial Park the night of Jan. 13. Dickerson beat him with a wooden baseball bat as Mills and his daughter watched. Dickerson then smashed the windows out of Cruz’s van and left him lying in the park, court records say.

Cruz, who said he was struck 15 or more times, suffered skull fractures, large cuts to his scalp that required more than two dozen staples, a lung injury, a mangled ear, missing teeth, several broken bones and more, Investigator David Gorlicki testified during a preliminary hearing in June at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley.

Initially, Cruz lied to a deputy about why he was at the park, but he later admitted he went to meet the girl. He told the deputy that he didn’t think she was responsible for the attack and didn’t want to involve her.

Gorlicki said the girl never reported the allegations of sexual assault to police, and she didn’t tell Dickerson or her father about it until the day of the attack. The girl said Cruz raped her in November when she spent the night at his Temecula home. She said she had been drinking vodka and passed out on Cruz’s bed.

In the days leading up to the baseball bat attack, Cruz sent the girl a slew of obscene text messages suggesting they meet again to have sex, drink and smoke marijuana.

At one point, the girl sent Cruz a text asking why he was trying to have sex with a 16-year-old.

“It’s the thing I do,” he replied. ..Source.. by SARAH BURGE

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