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Plea deal reached in Kuna rape case

Posted at 12:41 PM, Sep 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-29 00:17:28-04

BOISE, Idaho — Three defendants in a Kuna gang rape case agreed to a plea deal Friday.

Nineteen-year-old Elias Lupango and Swedi Iyombelo and Mulanga Rashidi, both 18, appeared in court Friday morning; each pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and false imprisonment charges. The three are refugees from Tanzania.

They were originally charged with felony rape and faced life sentences.

Related: Trial date set for 4 suspects accused of rape in Kuna

The judge credited the three with jail time served and suspended the remainder of the time. That means they will not serve any time behind bars, unless they violate the terms of their four-year probation.

A fourth defendant, Ulimwengu Lupango, 17, also charged with rape, was remanded to juvenile court Friday. He was identified as Elias Lupango’s brother.

Related: Juvenile involved in Kuna rape will be tried as an adult

In court, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Tanner Stellmon told the judge that “missteps” had been taken during the Ada County Sheriff’s Office investigation of the crime –- missteps that involved issuing the legal Miranda warning to the suspects, all of whom are Swahili, when the defendants were being questioned during the investigation. That led to a judge later suppress key evidence; specifically, what the men told investigators after they were read their rights,

Related: Four Boise teens arrested on rape charges

According to reports, Iyombelo had agreed to meet the 18-year-old victim near a fast-food restaurant in Kuna last February. The two had previously met on-line. But when the woman arrived at the location, all four of the defendants were there. Prosecutors said the four then reportedly sexually attacked her.