Santa Rosa woman sentenced to jail in hate crime against mother, toddler

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A Santa Rosa woman was sentenced Monday to four months in jail in connection to a 2017 racially charged attack on a mother and her 2-year-old son at a Roseland Dollar Tree checkout line, prosecutors said.

The sentencing came after Marion Christine Forrest, 53, reached a plea deal, pleading no contest in December to battery and child abuse charges, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Forrest also admitted to committing a hate crime, prosecutors said.

Her sister, Frankie Jean Brouwer, 48, also participated in the assault and was sentenced earlier this month to 45 days in jail and 3 months’ probation for battery, Sonoma County Superior Court records showed.

“Fortunately, we rarely come upon hate crimes in our community,” District Attorney Jill Ravitch said in a statement. “But when the facts support charging a hate crime we will do so and will seek an appropriate sanction, including incarceration.”

The confrontation played out at the Sebastopol Road Dollar Tree on Aug. 25, 2017, while the victim and her three children, ages 2, 4 and 13, were shopping at the store. Her 2-year-old son was crying because he was stung by a bee, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Forrest was standing at a nearby checkout line and became upset when she heard the boy’s cries. She began yelling across the store, saying the “Mexican baby” needed to “shut up,” the news release said. Forrest cursed at the mother, who defended her son, and then struck her and the toddler multiple times. Authorities initially reported Forrest used a plastic conveyor belt divider to hit a bystander in the head.

Brouwer later joined the fight, assaulting both the mother and her 13-year-old child, prosecutors said.

Forrest continued to make racial slurs at the mother once deputies arrived and accused authorities of refusing to interview white witnesses, the news release said. The entire incident was captured on store surveillance video.

Forrest was ordered to four years’ probation and must take anger management classes as part of her sentence. She’s also barred from owning a gun for 10 years, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Morimune prosecuted the case. He was assisted by the office’s victim and witness advocate Rocio Torres-Murphy.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @nashellytweets.

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