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Father says he told son to lie after police lied to him

By PEG BYRON

NEW YORK -- The father of a defendant accused in a brutal attack on a Central Park jogger insisted Friday he urged his son to lie about raping the woman because police promised it would save him from jail.

'You better tell us what we want to hear and cooperate or you are going to jail,' Bobby McCray, a 35-year-old parking lot manager, said police shouted at his son Antron, then 14, during questioning about the Central Park attack.

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His son and wife, Linda, were crying as police screamed at the youth who earlier only admitted to being with a large gang that attacked a homeless man and male joggers during a two-hour 'wilding' rampage in the park.

'What about the woman?' the father recalled police demanding as he and his wife sat with their son at a Manhattan police precinct.

'I don't know about the woman. I didn't do anything,' Antron Mccray sobbed, testified his father, the first witness for the defense in the five-week trial.

McCray's attorney, Michael Joseph, said he would also call the youth's mother to the stand to bolster his defense that police coerced his confession.

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A high school drop-out, Bobby McCray nervously recalled the police interrogation a day after the April 19, 1989, attack on nine poeple, including a woman jogger left with her head bashed in and near death in the park.

'After talking to the detective in the hallway, the father said he went back into the interrogation room and in desperation told his son to lie and confess to the rape and beating of the woman, believing police would release the boy.

'I got upset and angry and I threw a chair across the room,' he testified in Manhattan state Supreme Court where his son and two other youths are on trial on 13 criminal counts, including rape and attempted murder.

McCray said he was angry about telling his son to lie, but repeated police warnings to him, saying 'Don't cry,' when his statement was videotaped.

In her cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer asked McCray about his son's volunteering numerous details to police and aboutsmiling and gesturing to explain his actions in the videotape.

The father admitted police did not coach his son on those aspects of his confession, but added, 'He talks with his hands because everyone in my family talks with their hands.'

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'Did you honestly believe that after Antron McCray admitted beating and raping her, admitted being on top of that jogger, holding her down while others raped her, that he hit her and assaulted her, did you honestly believe that he would be permitted to go home?' Lederer asked incredulously.

'Yes, yes, because they promised they would let him go,' the father said.

The parents of defendants Raymond Santana, 15, and Yusef Salaam, 16, were also expected to testify. Three other youths also face charges in the attack and were to be tried at a later date.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday after presenting 43 witnesses and 34 photographs depicting the horrifying injuries sustained by the woman jogger who testified even though her injuries left her physically unstable and unable to remember the attack.

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