TAMPA — Two remaining defendants accused of sexual battery against a fellow Walker Middle School student will get separate trials this month, a judge decided Wednesday.
Diemante J. Roberts, 16, will go on trial before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles on Sept. 13. Raymond Price-Murray, 15, will face the same judge on Sept. 20.
Authorities say a 13-year-old student endured a two-month reign of terror by four members of his flag football team, accused of raping him with a broomstick and hockey stick.
The other defendants, Lee Louis Myers, 15, and Randall Moye, 15, were also initially charged with sexual battery, but those charges were reduced to felony battery. Moye faces juvenile sanctions, and Myers agreed to enter a pretrial intervention program.
Price-Murray's attorney, Bryant Camareno, filed the motion to separate the defendants on Tuesday, prompting a scolding Wednesday from Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe for doing it "at the 11th hour."
"This should have been filed a long time ago," Tharpe said. "It makes me think that you're dilatory."
"For the record," Camareno said later, "the judge has every right to be upset. … But the motion needed to be filed."
Camareno says a statement Roberts made portrayed the locker room events in a more incriminating light than a statement from Price-Murray. The attorney wants to limit the statements used as evidence against Price-Murray.
"We put the broomstick in his butt," Roberts said at the start of the investigation. "Guys on the team pulled his pants down and put the hockey stick up his butt again."
Price-Murray said in his statement that teammates jumped on top of the boy, and Roberts used a hockey stick on him.
"We were just goofing off," he wrote in parentheses. Price-Murray also said the victim may have thought the defendant tried to assault him because Price-Murray was holding the stick. But Price-Murray said he had taken the stick from another boy to hit Roberts as Roberts tried to put a stick in Price-Murray's rear end.
Camareno said he filed the motion now because he had been trying to negotiate a resolution with the state.
Alexandra Zayas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3354.