NEW YORK, JUNE 25 -- A Manhattan prosecutor today described the "utter brutality" of the attack on a female jogger last year in Central Park, telling jurors how a group of Harlem youths took turns raping the woman and then left her "battered, swollen and comatose body" in the mud.

In opening arguments in a case that has come to symbolize sexual violence in New York, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer recounted the April 19, 1989, "wilding" attack that one defendant, Raymond Santana, later told authorities was "fun."

The accused -- Santana, 15, in a white shirt and tie and wispy mustache; Antron McCray, 16, virtually bald in a gray suit; and Yusef Salaam, 16, with a "fade," several-inch high, haircut and gray suit -- sat motionless and stone-faced as Lederer described the "savage" beating of the 29-year-old investment banker. The three are the first of six youths to be tried for attempted murder, rape, sodomy and lesser charges during an hour-long rampage in which eight other people were attacked. If convicted each could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In a monotone that contrasted starkly with the violence she was recounting, Lederer offered this description of what police saw when they found the jogger at 1:30 a.m., about four hours after the attack:

"A young woman whose hair was matted with blood and mud, who was naked except for a jogging bra, tied up with a blood-soaked shirt. . . . Her left eye was swollen shut. Her right eye was open and stared blankly. . . . She had multiple skull fractures. . . . She was cold to the touch. Her pulse rate was 40. {The jogger} was dying. . . . "

Lederer continued, "She had lost three-quarters of her blood. Every bone supporting her left eye was broken. Her body was covered with scrapes and bruises."

The jogger, who was not present today but may testify during the trial, "has no recollection of what happened to her" because of her injuries, Lederer said.

Defense lawyers quickly tried to cast doubt on the statements their clients made to authorities, which both sides acknowledge are the heart of the case. In brief, low-key presentations, they said their clients initially denied involvement in the attack and that their statements -- including videotaped and written confessions by McCray and Santana -- were coerced by police during lengthy interrogations.

Salaam's lawyer, Robert Burns, urged the jury "not to be steam-rollered into some kind of emotional fever pitch that points the way to guilt."

The importance of the defendants' statements was highlighted when Lederer read from McCray's videotaped account: "We charged her. Everyone started hitting her and stuff. . . . Everyone was stomping her. . . . We all took turns getting on top of her." Lederer said McCray described in a "coldly and calmly and almost matter-of-fact way" how the jogger "was forced to submit to repeated sexual intercourse."

As she "lay there bleeding and not moving and unconscious," Lederer said, "someone took a pipe and struck her in the head, leaving her for dead."

Lederer cited some physical evidence, such as semen stains found on Santana's and McCray's clothing. But Lederer did not mention any eyewitness to the attack on the jogger, who has returned to her job as a vice president at the securities firm Salomon Brothers.

The Manhattan Supreme Court jury listened intently as Lederer methodically recounted how 30 youths began their Central Park rampage, which police said they called "wilding," around 9 p.m.

First the group attacked a bicyclist, Lederer said. Then they bloodied a Hispanic man in his 50s, stealing his food and pouring beer on him. Then they lunged at a couple on a tandem bicycle.

The next victim was the female jogger, who had worked until 8 p.m., taken a taxi to her Upper East Side apartment and changed into a white T-shirt, black tights and running shoes, according to Lederer.

When the jogger was attacked and began screaming, another defendant covered her mouth, yelled "Shut up, bitch!" and "hit her in the face with a brick," Lederer said.

After leaving the woman for dead, Lederer said, the group attacked four male joggers, beating one with a pipe and stick and leaving him unconscious in a pool of blood.

McCray's lawyer, Michael Joseph, said police warned McCray that he was would be "in big trouble" unless he told them "what they want to hear." The evidence, he said, "does not establish that my client is guilty of anything."

Santana's lawyer, Peter Rivera, said Santana was held without food overnight and that without the confession, "There is no case against Raymond Santana. The police officers' job . . . is to sell you that smokescreen. . . . That statement was coerced. Much of the language came from the lips and the mouths of the police officers who took that statement."

Burns, Salaam's attorney, said police investigations of the "wilding" incidents that evening intensified after the female jogger was found and the media reported that the suspects "were either black or Hispanic." The victim is white.

Authorities have insisted the attack was not racial, but prospective jurors were questioned about attitudes on race.