3 Teens Indicted in Rape Held As Adults

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Three teens suspected in the gang rape and assault of a mother and her 12-year-old son at a crime-ridden housing project were transferred Thursday from juvenile to adult detention at the Palm Beach County Jail.

Jakaris Taylor, 15, and Nathan Walker, 16, were charged Wednesday in a 14-count indictment that included allegations of sexual battery, kidnapping and burglary. The judge postponed a hearing for Avion Lawson, 14, who faces the same charges, after his attorney failed to appear.

Authorities said the three were identified through fingerprints and DNA found inside the woman’s home.

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If convicted, the boys could face life in prison.

Prosecutors believe the three were among an armed group of as many as 10 teens wearing masks that raped the 35-year-old woman and beat her son. The woman told authorities she was forced at gunpoint to perform oral sex on her son during the June 18 attack at the Dunbar Village housing project. The attackers also beat the boy and poured cleaning solution into his eyes, police said.

Taylor’s lawyer, Chris Haddad, said his client maintains he is innocent. “The indictment is not evidence of guilt,” he said.

Telephone messages left by The Associated Press for Lawson’s and Walker’s attorneys were not returned.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)