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Teen Gang-Rape Suspects Appear in Court

Updated: Thursday, December 20 2012, 05:56 PM EST

UPDATE:


One day after getting booked on second degree rape charges, Three East Henderson High students faced a judge. The 17 and 18-year-olds learned how much prison time looms if they're convicted of attacking a female classmate.


"It's an extremely serious offense. The minimum is around 260 months in jail," said legal expert David Payne.


Tyler Garren hired a private attorney and waived his first appearance. Vincent Curto and Matt Bishop told the judge they want a public defender. Unable to post bond, Justin Ponder appeared in cuffs and jailhouse stripes. Ponder turned down a public defender, opting to hire his own lawyer.


"No case is a slam dunk for the prosecution," said Payne. Attorney Payne represented Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph. He explained what the prosecution must prove to win guilty verdicts.


"Firstly, that there was a non-consensual contact, that there was intent, and that there was injury to the victim," Payne said.


Garren and Bishop have more than their rape case in common. Both are football stars at East Henderson. Both have dads associated with law enforcement. Garren's dad is a Henderson deputy, who's not suspected of wrongdoing in this case.


Bishop's dad is a former Hendersonville cop, who was the subject of a separate SBI rape investigation. Mr. Bishop was not charged in that case.


"It's a very sad situation all the way around," said Payne.


By: Mario Boone, mlboone@wlos.com


Follow on Twitter: @marioboone


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Three East Henderson High School students charged with raping a classmate, made their first court appearance today.

The lawyer for a fourth student, who's the son of a Sheriff's deputy, appeared on his behalf.

This morning, the judge explained the serious charges the boys now face in connection with the alleged rape of their classmate.

And we learned today Tyler Garren hired a private lawyer. Vincent Curto and Matt Bishop applied for public defenders.  Justin Ponder, who wasn't able to bond out, says he will also hire a private lawyer.

News 13's Mario Boone also confirmed today that Bishop is the son of a former Hendersonville Police Officer who was fired recently when he allegedly came under investigation by the SBI for rape.

Our own Mario Boone spoke to the former defense attorney for Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph about how much time the boys might get if they're convicted, David Payne, "I think the minimum is 260 months in jail. It's an extremely serious offense. The state takes a very strong position on it because it's a child.".

All four boys must report back to court January 11th.

Follow Mario on Twitter @MarioBoone

Related Links:
4 East Henderson High Students Charged With Rape
Teen Girl Gang-Raped at Home of Sheriffs Deputy

Teen Gang-Rape Suspects Appear in Court


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