Jury deliberating over Ohio woman in school brawl
CINCINNATI (AP) — Jurors were deliberating Friday whether an Ohio woman involved in an in-school brawl went to her daughter’s classroom with the intention of helping the teen fight a fellow student.
Precious Allen, 31, is charged with misdemeanor assault and aggravated trespassing in the Feb. 7 brawl involving her daughter and a 15-year-old girl at Withrow High School in Cincinnati. She has pleaded not guilty. Each charge carries a maximum jail term of six months.
Allen tearfully told jurors Friday that the 15-year-old girl had been bullying her daughter for some time and started the fight that day by cursing at her, calling her names and shoving her face with an open hand.
“I was shocked when she did it and I fell back,” Allen said. Before she knew it, her daughter and the other teen were fighting, she said.
She said she immediately yanked her daughter away and took her into the hallway, after which the other teen “burst through then swinging.”
“She was in a rage,” she said.
Allen said she again grabbed her daughter and tried to shield her before the fight was broken up, and that an arriving police officer stationed at the school and school officials never listened to her side of the story.
“They screamed and yelled in my face like I was some kind of monster,” she said through tears. “They just did me so wrong.”
Allen’s daughter testified that she didn’t want to get in a fight that day but that she hit the 15-year-old girl because the teen had hit her mother first.
The other teen testified Thursday that Allen’s daughter is the one who hit her first, and that Allen soon joined the fray.
In closing arguments Friday, prosecutor Eric Cook criticized Allen’s statements that she was only at the school to withdraw her daughter from classes and pick up her things.
“This parent acted like a child. She confronted a child half her age,” Cook said. “Each step she had a chance to act like an adult and step back.”
Defense attorney Eric Deters told jurors that it makes no sense that Allen would want to fight the 15-year-old that day, since she was in a hurry to get to work, was wearing scrubs for her job as a nurse’s aide and didn’t even know the other teen was in the classroom.
Deters also said it defies logic that Allen would plan to cause a fight at a public school with surveillance cameras and in front of a teacher and students, and where a police officer always is nearby.
“Precious is not some crazy parent,” he said. “Please find her not guilty. She’s been through a lot.”
In three days of testimony, Allen and the six other witnesses have offered differing accounts of what happened.
Two teenagers who witnessed the fight and tried to stop it testified for the prosecution on Thursday, painting Allen and her daughter as the instigators. But under cross-examination, Deters pointed out that their own handwritten statements after the brawl said that the 15-year-old hit Allen first.
A police officer testified that now-missing surveillance video of part of the fight showed Allen grabbing the 15-year-old and slamming her to the ground. The teacher who was in the hallway at the time and the two teenage witnesses said they saw no such thing.
If the jury doesn’t reach a unanimous verdict Friday, they would resume deliberations Monday.
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