Eight suspects on trial for assaulting a Santa Barbara City College student last fall on Trigo Road were indicted by a grand jury on Friday. Their arraignment was set for Oct. 3.
Eighteen year-old Adam De La Fuente, 19-year-olds Scott Carter, Matthew Blessing, Charles Anderson and David Rhodes, as well as 20-year-olds Patrick Mueller, Gregg Singer and Joshua Burns, face charges of misdemeanor battery. All of the suspects except for De La Fuente are also charged with various felonies.
The suspects were caught on videotape – turned into the I.V. Foot Patrol in June – which, according to police, shows suspects force-feeding the 19-year-old victim alcohol, stripping and urinating on him and finally leaving him on a couch in the middle of the street. Blessing, Anderson, Mueller and Singer were all residents of an apartment on the 6600 block of Trigo, where the assault occurred.
“You have to understand that nobody at UCSB was involved – the victim was a SBCC student and the others were either visiting or attending City College,” prosecuting District Attorney Joyce Dudley said.
“I decided to convene a grand jury [instead of a preliminary hearing with a judge] because the case was already nine months old when it got to me in July. The video was turned in late, and there are eight different defense attorneys -it’s difficult to accommodate everyone for a preliminary hearing, so there can be delays which would bring it past the holidays.”
Dudley said while she hopes to try all of the suspects together, some face different charges, due to the level of involvement shown in the video. All eight are charged with battery, but Carter, Blessing, Anderson and Burns also face charges of battery with serious bodily injury and administering an intoxicating agent to commit false imprisonment, as well as felony kidnapping. In addition, Mueller, Singer and Rhodes also face the felony kidnapping charges. Young, Singer and Burns are also charged with misdemeanor sexual battery.
“I see no reason to assume the trials separately – I’d like to try them all together. In my view, different people are culpable for different actions … but it seems most just to try them together,” Dudley said.