October 2012 alleged gang rape defendants return to court

By Patrick Hoff

Pre-trial hearings continued over the summer for the four men accused in the October 2012 gang rape of a University of Massachusetts student, with defendants being ordered to submit DNA samples and requesting access to the records belonging to the alleged victim.

In May, Hampshire Superior Court Judge Bertha Josephson ordered Emmanuel Bile, 19, Adam Liccardi, 18, and Caleb Womack, 18, to submit DNA samples to be compared to samples collected from the alleged victim’s body following the October assault. The fourth defendant, Justin King, 19, had previously submitted a DNA sample.

Maria Uminski/Daily Collegian

The DNA samples were taken from the defendants following the hearing with a cheek swab, despite objections from some of the defense attorneys.

In July, the lawyer for Liccardi requested access to a year of Facebook records from the alleged victim, six months prior to the Oct. 13, 2012, incident and six months following. Facebook opposed the request, as did the alleged victim and the prosecutor.

The Facebook motion was one of four motions filed by the defendants’ lawyers. The other motions requested disciplinary records involving the alleged victim from UMass, the alleged victim’s medical records from Cooley-Dickinson Hospital and communications between her lawyer and the University. All of the motions were allowed except for the one involving Facebook records.

On Aug. 21, King returned to court to seek a lower bail, which had been set at $10,000 following his indictment of three aggravated rape charges.

Terry Dunphy, King’s defense attorney, said that King’s grandfather had taken out loans and used a credit card to pay for the bail. Dunphy requested that the bail amount be reduced to $2,500, the same as Liccardi’s bail.

“It’s become somewhat of a burden on the family and the grandfather,” Dunphy said in court. “It’s just a matter of relieving the financial pressure on the family.”

Despite objections from Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl, citing the seriousness of the charges and stating that “the amount [of $10,000] was entirely reasonable,” Judge Richard Carey granted the lower bail to King on Aug. 23 and returned the partial amount of $7,500, according to court documents.

Liccardi and King are free on $2,500 bail, while Bile is free on $3,500 and Womack on $10,000. Womack unsuccessfully attempted to lower his bail in January.

None of the defendants are UMass students. Bile, Liccardi and King are all residents of Pittsfield and Womack is from Windsor Locks, Conn.

Bile, Liccardi and Womack are being charged with three counts of aggravated rape, while Liccardi faces a fourth count for allegedly returning to the woman’s room and raping her again after the other men left. All have pleaded not guilty. The defendants face sentences of up to life in prison if convicted.

According to court records, the alleged victim knew the four men through a mutual friend. Against the wishes of the alleged victim, the men went to UMass the day of the alleged assault. That night, the woman had been drinking and smoking marijuana with the defendants and two other friends, according to court records. When her two other friends left, the report states that the four men “‘attacked’ her on the bed and began ripping her clothes off.” The incident allegedly lasted between one and two hours according to estimates by the alleged victim.

All of the defendants are scheduled to return to court on Sept. 18 for the penultimate pre-trial hearing, according to court documents.


Patrick Hoff can be reached at [email protected]