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Why Would Five Teens Gang-Rape a Friend? Check Facebook

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"Erica and Patricia were together 99 percent of the time," recalls Gonzalez, who says he spent every day with the pair that summer. By now, they were calling each other "twin," and Patricia referred to Erica's father as "daddy" on Facebook. The teenagers filled their time with TV and playing pool, but Erica would drop everything if her dad called.

On July 31, she found out trouble had caught up to him again. Dania Beach Police say they caught him driving a stolen two-door Nissan without a license. When he was pulled over, police claim he admitted that he'd jacked the car in Hollywood and that he had heroin in his wallet. Avery was arrested on felony charges of grand theft auto and heroin possession. (He's pleaded not guilty.)

In August, Gonzalez accompanied Erica and Patricia to the Broward County Courthouse. They squeezed into a row to watch Eric Avery's arraignment. When the realization hit that Avery wouldn't be released, that he faced years in prison, the blond girls wept uncontrollably. "Erica was most upset that they wouldn't let her see him," Gonzalez recalls. "The car ride home that day was long and depressing."

"Erica just went ballistic when her father was taken away," friend Angie Morales says. "She went crazy and started drinking more and smoking more. She didn't care about herself anymore."

Weeks later, Erica moved out of Patricia's house and in with her godfather, who was renting a small two-bedroom in Coconut Creek.

Jessica wrote Erica a message: "to be honest you my dawg i fucks witchu 1000. ima miss you."

The distance separating Erica and Patricia was difficult. "I'm now surrounded by a bunch of old ass people that look like they gon drop dead any minute," Erica wrote in a Facebook post.

But her new address meant she was only minutes from the Paul Rein Detention Center, where her father awaits trial.

On October 19, less than two weeks before that early November night in the small yellow house, Patricia and Erica posed for a picture in front of that prison. In the photograph, the girls' arms are crossed. They wear matching black tank tops and blue jeans. A cigarette hangs from Patricia's mouth. The picture materialized on Facebook, where Patricia wrote, "#FreeMyDaddy. We miss you forreal. #FuckTheLaw. Erica, I love you babygirl. FOREVER & ALWAYS."


On November 2, Hollywood Police crowded around a bed inside Joe DiMaggio's Children Hospital. Before them lay 16-year-old Jessica, who was "in and out of consciousness" and had "massive facial injuries," "extreme swelling to both her eyes," and "blood coming from her left ear." She was heavily sedated on pain medication, and it wasn't until midnight that her thoughts were lucid enough to state what happened the night before.

"She looked like Rocky Balboa times ten," says Fred Minaya, 20, the friend who had dropped her off that night. "I broke down. We all did."

Hours later, as Jessica wept in bed, she described a night of horrors. According to the statement she gave police, she tried to escape the house, but Dwight Henry, the 17-year-old with the gold streak in his Afro, shouted, "If you leave, I'm going to fuck you up!" Then he and the other four teenagers dragged her into a bedroom and began removing her clothing.

"You better fuck him," she said Patricia, then Erica, hissed at her. "You better fuck him."

They laid her down on the bed. Dwight Henry and Lanel Singleton held down her arms. Patricia and Erica pinned her legs and spread them. Jessica saw a condom flash in the faint light. And then, Jessica told police, Jayvon Woolfork, who until that moment had only minor burglary convictions on his record, raped her. It lasted five to ten minutes.

Q. After they raped you, did they say anything else to you?

A. They called me a dirty asshole.

Q. Called you a dirty asshole?

A. They were constantly calling me names. They told me to get the fuck out of there, and they spit on me. Erica spit on me, to be exact. On my hair.

They allowed Jessica to leave, but without her shoes. Around 3 a.m., Jessica was found by her mother's friend stumbling barefoot through the streets she once haunted with Erica and Patricia. Both her eyes were swollen shut.

"What happened?" the friend asked. "What happened?"

"They just raped me!" she sobbed.

He brought her to her grandmother's house nearby, a cluttered and cigarette-smoke-clogged affair on a leafy, suburban street. They ran a hot shower for her and called the cops.

The next day, after Jessica had identified her attackers by their Facebook profiles, several squad cars pulled up to Patricia's house, where they found and arrested Patricia and Erica. Patricia's father handed over his daughter's iPhone, which was covered in decorative glitter. Police had never seen anything like what they found on the phone.

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Terrence McCoy