Four of the five suspects in a brutal Brooklyn gang rape–17-year-old Travis Beckford, 17-year-old Onandi Brown, 15-year-old Ethan Phillip and 14-year-old Denzel Murray–have been released from custody by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew Sciarrino. 15-year-old Shaquelle Cooper, the fifth accused rapist, was also ordered released, but he will remain in custody due to a pending assault charge.
Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson didn’t object to the judges orders, citing the fact that the case is “complex,” and he and his team need the appropriate amount of time to get the facts right and gather more evidence. The New York Times points out that this falls right in line with the law, which says prosecutors have “less than a week from the time a suspect is arrested on a felony charge to obtain a grand-jury indictment.” After that time, prosecutors then have six months to obtain a proper indictment.
On January 7, the five young men allegedly approached the 18-year-old victim and her father at Osborn playground in Bushwick, brandished a gun while directing the father to leave, and proceeded with the sexual assault.
According to this New York Times report, one of the suspects showed a reporter cell phone footage proving that the sex act was consensual, and this among several other pieces of evidence will be further examined by investigators before a new indictment is presented.