|3 of the 4 suspects|
Elias Lupango, 19, Rashidi Mulanga, 18 and Swedi Iyombelo, 18, all of Boise, were arrested Thursday on the felony rape charge. A 4th suspect, a 16-year-old boy, was arrested Friday morning on the same charge.
Because the 4th suspect's a juvenile, his name hasn't been released and he didn't appear in court with the other defendants.
According to the prosecutor, the 18-year-old woman and Iyombelo made contact over social media and agreed to meet up in a Kuna neighborhood February 7. The 2 agreed to hang out, but sex wasn't discussed, he said.
"The victim believed she was meeting only one individual, your Honor," the prosecutor said. "The victim arrived at the location and observed 4 males, not just 1. She stated to law enforcement that she was initially apprehensive upon arriving, but stayed."
Iyombelo and the 16-year-old got into the victim’s car and the woman and Iyombelo began having consensual sex, the prosecutor said.
But after the sex began, the woman told Iyombelo to stop, she told police. According to the prosecutor, Iyombelo later admitted to detectives that the woman said no 3 times, but he kept having sex with her. The other 3 defendants then took turns raping the victim, the prosecutor said.
"The victim's reported that she stated no a number of times and told law enforcement she was afraid they'd hurt her and she was worried if she did anything they'd kill her," he said.
Police reviewed messages between the defendants and the victim in which she tells them they "used her" and that "she never said it was OK." The suspects sent back messages, including a video message, in which they apologize for what had happened.
After being taken into custody, Lupango and Mulanga admitted to detectives "that they were never given permission to have sex with the victim in this case and that she just laid there," the prosecutor said.
"Both stated that she probably didn’t want them to have sex with her," he continued.
The prosecutor asked Lupango, Mulanga and Iyombelo to each be held on a $250,000 bond, arguing that the men have limited ties to the Boise area. All 3 suspects are refugees from Tanzania, according to their public defender; Mulanga has been in Boise for 6 months, while Lupango and Iyombelo have been in the area for 3 years.
During their hearing, the suspects denied raping the woman, saying through a translator that they didn't commit the crime they are accused of. When Judge Russell Comstock asked the defendants if they understood the charges, one of the men insisted they were innocent.
"Yes judge, I understand, but that’s not what we did," Lupango responded through a translator.
Later, after the judge asked the men if they understood their rights, Iyombelo chimed in as well.
"All this isn't true, judge," he said.
The defendant’s public defender asked the judge to set a much lower bond, around $2,000. She told the judge that the men had struck a deal with the 18-year-old before the encounter.
"Apparently she had been aware that there were 4 of them and that they were going to pay her for sex," the attorney said. "There’s a little more to this story than we all know at this point."
Comstock ultimately sided with the prosecutor, ordering each man held on a $250,000 bond. Lupango, Mulanga and Iyombelo are due back in court February 27 for a preliminary hearing. If convicted of rape, they could face up to life in prison.