Four people accused of robbing a group at gunpoint and then repeatedly raping two women have been charged.
The incident happened early Tuesday in St. Paul. According to the charges, four friends (ages 17 and 18) were parked near Harriet Island when the four suspects robbed them at gunpoint, stealing their phones and some cash.
Then, the suspects – who range in age from 16-20 – forced the two men to strip down to their underwear and lie face down on the ground, charges say. Then they made the two 18-year-old women get into a car and sexually assaulted them, according to the charges.
"Despite the victims complying with their orders and handing over their valuables, the perpetrators in this case forced the female victims into a car and repeatedly raped them," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement. "These allegations are brutally horrific and we will prosecute these defendants to the fullest extent of the law as we attempt to achieve justice for the victims, their families and our community."
Three of the suspects – Vershone Jaquay Hodges, 20, Devontre Jordan Vann, 19, and a 16-year-old boy – were arrested Tuesday morning during a robbery at a Super America in West St. Paul, the charges say. The fourth suspect – Deandray Artez Easley, 18 – fled the scene and was arrested later.
Charges note Hodges, Easley and the 16-year-old suspect are all suspected members of cooperating gangs.
Each suspect has been charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual assault, four counts of first-degree aggravated robbery and two counts of kidnapping. The 16-year-old is charged as a juvenile, but prosecutors say they'll try to charge him as an adult. (GoMN doesn't typically name people who are charged as juveniles.)
All four suspects will make their first court appearances Thursday afternoon.