Archived Story

No pleas entered in teen sex case

Published 11:10am Friday, May 20, 2011

Defense attorneys for five Niles teens accused of criminal sexual conduct met with their families Friday in Berrien County Court; however, the conferences were postponed to Friday, May 27. No pleas were entered.
Prosecuting attorney Steve Pierangeli said Friday that one witness was not available Friday, which attributed to the postponement.
Parnell Martin, Leon Murphy, Martise Washington and Trey Nichols, all 18, and Martell Miller, 17, face a number of criminal charges stemming from a six-week police investigation including criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree — a felony with a maximum sentence of life in prison. All defendants are in custody at the Berrien County Jail.
Miller faces two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; one count of extortion, a felony with a maximum 20-year sentence; and one count of possession of child sexually abusive material, a four-year felony.
Martin is charged with one count of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; one count of extortion; and one count of possession of child sexually abusive material.
Washington faces one count of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; one count of extortion; one count of making, financing or arranging child sexually abusive material, a 20-year felony; and one count of surveillance, a two-year felony.
Murphy is charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; one count of extortion; and two counts of possession of child sexually abusive material.
Nichols faces one count of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree; three counts producing child sexually abusive material; one count of extortion; and three counts surveilling unclothed persons.
Four were arrested May 12 and one was arrested at his Niles home that day for their alleged involvement in forcing a female to have sex by threatening to post on Facebook a video of her having sex with one of the defendants.
Three female victims have been identified in this case after one reported the allegations to Niles police. The Star does not print the names of sexual abuse victims.
Four of the five defendants have been confirmed as students at NHS. The alleged acts took place around March 18. In Nichols’ case, the charges stemmed from January.
According to court documents obtained by the Star, the victim who made the report to police claims she was unknowingly videotaped having sex with Washington in Nichols’ bedroom. The video was reportedly located by police on Nichols’ laptop computer and cell phone.
Records show the defendants told the victim they would post the sex video on Facebook if she did not perform or consent to sex with them, including vaginal, oral and digital sex. Some acts were allegedly forced on her; others she consented to in fear of the video being released.
All five defendants were arraigned May 12 via satellite feed.
A preliminary exam for each defendant has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 8. It was postponed from this Tuesday.

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