A former Palm Springs Power baseball player barreled past a woman blocking the doorway of a room at a house party when she found the suspect allegedly raping a 20-year-old unconscious woman inside, an Indio police officer testified Monday.
On the third day of prosecution testimony, Officer Ricardo Cerna from the Indio Police Department took the stand in the trial of 26-year-old Trent William Pell, who is accused of raping the unidentified woman June 16, 2014, court records show.
As the first responding officer to the 81800 block of Sandy Court in Indio, Cerna found the victim — only identified as Jane Doe — so severely intoxicated at the party that she was unable to provide a statement about the alleged rape.
“She appeared she had no idea what was going on,” Cerna said.
One witness to the alleged rape told Cerna that when she found Pell in a closed room at the party with the victim, “she stood in his way to block him” from leaving. However, Pell was able to get around the witness and flee the scene before law enforcement arrived.
The witness, according to Cerna, appeared coherent and reasonable, even though she was also under the influence of alcohol.
Lead investigator Sgt. Leonardo Perafan from the Indio Police Department also took the stand and confirmed that the victim and witnesses were not interviewed in a follow-up investigation until three days after the alleged rape as a homicide also took place the same night.
According to a declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant, several witnesses walked into a room at the Sandy Court home almost five years ago and saw Pell having sex with the victim “while she was passed out.” The woman “drank heavily” that afternoon and didn’t wake up when the witnesses entered the room, Indio police Cpl. Leonardo Perafan wrote.
Pell left his cellphone and wallet — which contained identifying information — at the scene and fled to his native Michigan, according to Perafan.
Later, Indio police worked with Michigan authorities to find Pell.
Pell — who’s from Eaton Rapids — was a infielder and outfielder for Oakland University in Rochester, according to the university’s athletics website. He was in the Coachella Valley playing for the Palm Springs Power, part of the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League, which recruits college athletes to play baseball in June and July.
Shortly after the alleged attack, Pell was released by the Power “for disciplinary reasons,” according to team president Andrew Starke.
Pell was ordered to stand trial on Oct. 19, 2015, on one count each of raping an unconscious victim, raping an intoxicated victim, assault with intent to rape and misdemeanor sexual battery. Testimony began Thursday after 42 continuances postponing the proceedings while Pell remained free on a $200,000 bond, court records show.
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