Three Santa Rosa women to stand trial for attack on teen at Maria Carrillo High School
Three Santa Rosa women accused of attacking a sword-wielding teen at Maria Carrillo High School by kicking, punching and using a stun gun against her can be tried on felony assault charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The dispute between the victim and the three defendants - Aliyah Baker, Assata Polk and Kinsasha Lovvorn, all 19 years old - started on social media and led to a physical fight at a campus parking lot, prosecutor Tania Partida said.
The Aug. 5, 2017, encounter was captured on cellphone video and observed by roughly 30 other people who reportedly were also on the Montecito Boulevard campus that night, according to court testimony. Police investigators have said the east Santa Rosa school parking lot is a gathering spot for teens at night.
The victim, identified only as Abbie C. in court, was 17 at the time of the attack. She was rushed by a group of five women who pulled her to the ground, kicked and punched her and shocked her with a stun gun, which she would later tell police caused her to briefly black out, Partida said.
But lawyers representing Baker, Polk and Lovvorn argued it was Abbie who instigated the fight by threatening Lovvorn and others. The lawyers said Abbie was being prosecuted in juvenile court for a previous assault and had been caught on video pulling another teen out of a vehicle by her hair.
“As a result of this investigation, (we’ve learned) Abbie C. has a reputation for the use of violence and weapons,” said attorney Evan Zelig, who is representing Lovvorn.
The dispute started when Lovvorn reacted negatively to a comment Abbie C. made on social media about the arrest of a man they both know, Darius Hill, according to the testimony.
Court records show Hill, now 21, was arrested in January 2018 on suspicion of four felonies, including drug and weapons charges.
The night of the fight, Abbie had gone to the school to smoke with a friend, Partida said. Three cars pulled up and a group of teens got out and began confronting her around 9:30 p.m., according to the prosecution.
Cellphone video played in court shows a group of women shouting threats toward people in a van. Abbie steps out of the van, and the samurai sword in her hand glints in the streetlight. The sound of a stun gun sparking is heard off camera, which Partida said was Baker testing the device.
After several minutes of shouting, the defendants and others, who police were unable to identify during the investigation, surrounded Abbie and attacked her, taking away her sword and leaving her with black eyes and cuts, according to the video and court testimony.
Lovvorn and Polk kicked and punched Abbie and at some point Lovvorn pushed her to the ground, according to the officer and Partida. Earlier, Lovvorn had handed the stun gun - a type commercially available in stores - to Baker. Baker stepped into the fray, shocking Abbie behind an ear then kicking her in the buttocks with her sandals, according to Partida and the video.
At some point, the fight stopped and the crowd dispersed. Two days later, another teen contacted police to report Abbie was attacked.
But attorneys defending Baker, Lovvorn and Polk questioned whether it was possible to identify the women in the dark, grainy video. They also questioned the truthfulness of Abbie’s statements to police.
Abbie didn’t tell police she had wielded a sword during the fight, said attorney Joe Stogner, who is defending Polk. She also hadn’t told police she threatened on social media to put at least one of the defendants “six feet under,” according to Stogner, who read from excerpts of her social media account.
He and the other defense attorneys questioned Abbie’s claim to police that a teen boy had pointed a gun at her. The lawyers said no other witnesses mentioned seeing a gun.
Stogner acknowledged the conduct in the video “is highly inappropriate and is obnoxious” but urged the judge to consider the fight a misdemeanor crime because of Abbie’s behavior and the fact that Polk, a Santa Rosa Junior College student, has no criminal history.
Lawyers representing Baker, who lost a college scholarship after her arrest, and Lovvorn, who now lives in Nevada, also asked the judge to reduce the charges to lesser crimes.
Paul Lozada, a lawyer for Baker, argued the stun gun was not a deadly weapon.
Judge Robert LaForge rejected the requests.
“I saw a victim retreating prior to a group beating,” LaForge said, adding the defendants “threw her on the ground, kicked a body and used a stun gun to the head.”
Following a preliminary hearing in Sonoma County Superior Court, LaForge held Baker, Polk and Lovvorn to answer on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm and felony assault with force causing great bodily injury. They will return to court May 2.